BBC: Google Accepted Ads for Illegal Products

Google has been found accepting advertising for and profiting from illegal products and services through its automated AdWords program.

A BBC investigation found Google’s AdWords advertised links to unofficial London 2012 Olympics ticket resellers, as well as sites selling cannabis and fake ID cards.

The BBC said Google plans to keep the revenue it makes from advertising illegal services, even if they have to be taken down following police requests. Google told V3 that it has already taken down some of the “violating Olymics ads.”

The BBC investigation was launched after illegal Olympic tickets were found at the top of Google searches and members of the U.K. public were fooled into buying tickets that did not exist.

The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act makes it illegal to sell tickets to the Olympics without authorization from the London Organizing Committee.

Google’s AdWords program is partly automated, but keywords on ads are filtered to protect customers from illegal products and services.

“We have a set of policies covering which ads can and cannot show on Google. These policies and guidelines are enforced by both automated systems and human beings,” Google said in a statement to V3.

“When we are informed of ads which break our policies, we investigate and remove them if appropriate.”

This article was originally published on V3.