Google has announced it will ban all payday loan ads from its site, bowing to concerns by critics who say the lending practice exploits the poor and vulnerable by offering them immediate cash that must be paid back under sky-high interest rates.
The decision is the first time Google has announced a global ban on ads for a broad category of financial products. To this point, the search giant has prohibited ads for largely illicit activities such as selling guns, explosives and drugs, and limited those that are sexually explicit or graphic in nature, for example. Critics of payday lenders say they hope the move by Google and other tech companies might undercut the business which finds huge numbers of willing customers on the internet.
The move also shows the willingness of big tech companies to weigh in on critical policy issues - and exert their power as the gateways for the internet. Facebook also does not display ads for payday loans. But others, such as Yahoo, still do.
Consumers will still be able to find payday lenders from a Google search. But the ads that appear on the top and right-hand side of a search results page will not show marketing from the payday lending industry beginning on July 13.
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