Update to Abusing the ad network policy (February 2023)

Google provides translated versions of our Help Centre, though they are not meant to change the content of our policies. The English version is the official language that we use to enforce our policies. To view this article in a different language, use the language drop-down at the bottom of the page.

In May 2023, the Google Ads Malicious or unwanted software policy will be split into three separate policies: Malicious software, Compromised sites and Unwanted software. We will begin enforcing these policies on 9 May 2023, with full enforcement ramping up over approximately four weeks. Until these policy changes are brought into effect, Google will continue to enforce its current malware policy.

What is changing

  • Malicious software: The scope of the Malicious software policy is narrowed to prohibit the intentional distribution of malicious software or 'malware' that may harm or gain unauthorised access to a computer, device or network. This prohibition applies to your ads and any software that your site or app either hosts or links to, regardless of whether the software is promoted through the Google advertising network. A violation of the Malicious software policy will now be considered an egregious violation.
  • Compromised sites: A compromised site refers to a site or destination whose code has been manipulated or hacked to act in ways that benefit a third party without the knowledge of the site or destination’s owner or operator, and often in a way that harms the site’s users. Your ads are not allowed to use destinations which are compromised or hacked. Violations of this policy won't lead to immediate account suspension without prior warning. A warning will be issued, at least seven days, prior to any suspension of your account.
  • Unwanted software: Ads and destinations that violate Google’s Unwanted software policy are not allowed. Violations of this policy won't lead to immediate account suspension without prior warning. A warning will be issued, at least seven days, prior to any suspension of your account.

Please review this policy update to determine whether or not any of your ads fall in scope of the policy, and if so, remove those ads before 9 May 2023.

(Posted on February 2023)

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