Starting with U.S. YouTube, Google is adding the option to allow users to filter out gambling and/or alcohol ads early next year.
As the public grows more concerned over internet privacy, data use, and targeted ads, Google has decided to put more control into the hands of users. Starting with the U.S. in early 2021, YouTube users will have to option to access settings which allow them to turn off specific types of ads such as alcohol and gambling ads.
Google previously allowed users to hide specific ads, but the new change will allow greater user control over entire categories, including ads which feature alcohol or gambling. The settings are separate, so a user can turn off ads for alcohol and leave gambling ads on if they are a sober gambler, for example.
A growing number of users were becoming disturbed by the ads they were viewing. This becomes a problem when a user seeking help for alcohol abuse is served alcohol ads. Google serves ‘contextual’ ads based on searches, so the search for ‘alcohol recovery program’ might show ads for alcohol in general.
Until now. The upcoming filters will be available under YouTube’s Ad Settings page, where users can opt out of a variety of advertisements, including alcohol ads or gambling ads. Users will have the option to opt out of one or both types of ads according to their preference.
Google has announced that the filter is not guaranteed to filter out 100% of gambling or alcohol ads, but the new level of control is a great improvement. When someone is struggling with problems with alcohol or gambling, the last thing they need is a tempting ad teasing them from the edges of their screen.
The YouTube ad filter will become available in the UK shortly after its U.S. debut. Following a recent crackdown on UK gambling ads, this is a welcome change for many users. UK betting firms agreed to stop advertising during live sports matches where children may be watching.
According to The Guardian, a spokesperson for the UK Betting and Gaming Council welcomed the change. “We have previously urged Google and other tech platforms to provide the option to stop seeing gambling adverts. We welcome this step in the right direction and hope to see it launch in the UK very soon.”
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