Google recently decided to prohibit pornographic ads and ads which link to pornographic websites. This policy change is the first that may actually limit the company’s revenue – some stats estimate that up to 12% of all websites and 25% of all search engine results contain pornography.
In addition, Google made the decision to stop offering sexually explicit apps in Google Play, Google’s phone app store.
Google announced this revision to companies that would be affected via email before the changes were initiated earlier this month. The email statement read: “We’ll no longer accept ads that promote graphic depictions of sexual acts … When we make this change, Google will disapprove all ads and sites that are identified as being a violation of our revised policy. Our system identified your account as potentially affected by this policy change. We ask that you make any necessary changes to your ads and sites to comply so that your campaigns can continue to run.”
Organizations including Focus on the Family and Morality in Media encouraged Google to bring about these changes.
Morality in Media is a national nonprofit spearheading the fight against pornography through public education and the application of the law. The organization focuses on pornography’s link to sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, offering resources and promoting advocacy campaigns.
For the past two years, Google has landed on Morality in Media’s “Dirty Dozen” list – a collection of companies whose lax policies contribute to “the spread of pornography and sexual exploitation,” according to Morality in Media. Other companies on the list include Facebook, Verizon, Barnes and Noble, PlayStation, and the American Library Association.
This new wave of action against pornography has not been limited to Google. This year Chase Bank closed accounts linked to the adult film industry, Amazon began removing the online wish lists of adult film actresses, and PayPal closed porn star accounts, according to Tech Times.
Insiders of the porn and adult film industry are less pleased with Google’s decision. According to CNBC, Micael Fattorsi, an attorney with Fattorsi & Associates which represents the adult industry, voiced his displeasure over the policy change. “This is an example of a mainstream company turning its back on the industry that has supported it,” said Fattorsi. “The question now becomes: Will they block adult content from their search results?”
As 68 million search engine requests each day are porn-related, Fattorsi’s question remains a critical one for the porn industry and conservative organizations alike. “We applaud Google for these important strides forward, but continue to call on them to improve their policies, especially on Google Search, Google Images, YouTube and Safe Search,” wrote Morality in Media on their web page detailing Google’s progress.