Usually, when tech companies introduce new policies it happens after long periods of careful internal discussions as big reversals aren’t usually the norm. Cue COVID-19.

Once the threat started hitting countries, tech giants decided to roll out new ad policies – 

a) in early February, Google banned most nongovernment COVID-19 advertising. However, according to recent news, it seems the company will be lifting the ban;

b) shortly after Google’s ban, YouTube followed suit demonetising videos about the coronavirus in order for advertisers to avoid having their ads placed on unpleasant COVID-19-related content. The company reversed the policy shortly after rolling it out – as did Google;

c) in February, Facebook announced it was banning coronavirus-related ads that promoted false cures and other virus-related disinformation;

d) in March, Twitter announced new ad policies tailored to COVID-19 which – as Google And YouTube – it reversed a few weeks later; and

e) Google Ads was the last to address this matter. The company has updated its Inappropriate Content policy to disallow content that “…potentially capitalises on or lacks reasonable sensitivity towards a natural disaster, conflict, death, public health emergency, or other tragic events.” Google also announced it would disburse $340 million in ad credits to SMBs. 

The big tech companies seem to have underestimated the scope of the pandemic and what would happen. They rolled out ad policies then reversed them back and carried on like everything was back to normal. We don’t know about you, but with so many changes, our heads have been spinning – a lot.

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