Expect Google to step up the enforcement of policy violations in 2019, especially those around user-generated content on publisher sites. Publishers have been receiving warnings and violations much more frequently these days around user-generated content considered racist.
John Brown, head of publisher policy communications at Google, commented in a popular content forum for webmasters focused on search, publishing and other areas that the user-generated policies have been in force in AdSense since 2009, but most recently he has been creating new videos to help publishers better understand the reasons behind the enforcement. The videos are intended to accompany Google’s policy center, policy forum, blog, and other materials.
Brown jumped into the discussion after a publisher asked where Google might post a list of words that the search engine considers racist. The publisher, which goes by the name csdude55, blocked every word on its message boards that might seem offensive, but still gets the occasional violation warning on words never considered.
Publishers are also responsible for the content that users post. If there is a derogatory comment in the comments section of an article, the publisher needs to clean it up and take it down.
“Unfortunately we cannot make this public, but we are publicly stating in as many ways as possible that we are trying to support our ecosystem through these policies,” Brown wrote in a comment in the forum. “And, I am trying to support publishers through materials that explain our policies.”
Publishers are getting warnings of violations for things they didn't know were problems. Publishers like csdude55 don’t want to get delisted for making an uninformed mistake.
Brown said Google moved to enforcing this at the page level -- not the site level -- about two years ago. His recommendation is to either “enable real-time monitoring, use a third-party monitoring solution, or place the comments after a call to action, such as ‘user comments,’ which open a new window without ads present.”
The statement, if course, confirms that it is all about ads.
Unfortunately, racism is not about words it is becoming more subtle and more about reading between lines … and linked to social discrimination, wrote one user who goes by the name Sissi.
Can’t blame Google for wanting to keep it clean, but “when problematic words/phrases are blocked, people just invent new ones,” writes Samizdata.