Google AdSense reminds publishers that freedom of expression has limits
Google’s AdSense YouTube channel has released a new video reminding publishers of their policies on dangerous and derogatory content. This policy affects all AdSense publishers, but those who publish user-generated content are likely to be impacted the most.
Is AdSense focused on user-generated content?
No, Google AdSense does not highlight user-generated content. However, as people tend to freely express their opinions, sites like forum communities should take note and take steps to prevent their AdSense accounts from being banned or revoked.
What type of content is prohibited by AdSense?
Google’s video and that AdSense help page List this type of content as prohibited:
Threatens or advocates harming yourself or others;
Harass, intimidate, or bully any person or group of people;
Inciting hatred against, promoting discrimination against, or disparaging any person or group based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or other related characteristics Systemic discrimination or marginalization.
How do I deal with AdSense prohibited content?
Google lists a variety of prohibited content. Compliance with these rules is part of the contract that is agreed upon when you join the AdSense network.
Step 1: Create a publishing policy
If you run a forum community, you may want to create a posting policy that specifically prohibits the type of content that Google’s AdSense program prohibits. It’s a good idea to warn users that posts violating your posting guidelines will be removed, and continued violation of your posting guidelines may result in your posting privileges being revoked.
A publishing policy is generally a good idea. The limits of this policy are up to you. However, if you want to run AdSense ads, the bare minimum is to ban the types of content that Google lists as prohibited.
Personally, I like to go beyond Google’s guidelines and ask community members to treat each other with respect. Many of my community members appreciate a safe place to discuss their hobbies.
But of course that’s not for everyone. So it’s up to you to make your policies as loose or restrictive as you see fit. The free speech limit is the limit set by Google when you display Google AdSense in your forum community.
Step 2. Remove explicit content
It’s not enough to have a posting policy. The disclosure policy must be enforced. It’s a good idea to proactively remove prohibited content.
I’m a moderator for WebmasterWorld’s AdSense forums and have seen cases where a member reported being banned for offensive content, even though the content had been on the site for years.
A proactive approach is to conduct a Site:Search on your website and try as best you can to find and remove objectionable content.
Google’s video says:
“We always work hard to create an ad network where users can feel protected and advertisers can be confident that their brands will not be associated with hateful, threatening or derogatory content.
“…We believe in fostering an environment where users, advertisers and publishers can thrive in a healthy digital advertising ecosystem.”
watch the video Understand policies: Dangerous or derogatory content.