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Google Removes 5.2 Billion Ads, Over 4.3 Million Ads Restricted for Violating its Policies

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A logo is pictured at Google's European Engineering Center in Zurich

Giant tech company Google in its Ads Safety Report 2022 revealed it removed 5.2 billion ads, restricted over 4.3 million ads, and suspended over 6.7 million advertiser accounts in 2022 for violating its ads policies.

The company also stated that it has blocked and restricted ads from serving over 1.57 billion publisher pages across over 1,43,000 publisher sites compared to 63,000 in 2021.

Reports reveal that the 5.2 billion ads that were removed violated Google’s policy which includes misleading financial ads, dangerous products, and services, trademark violations, counterfeit goods, sensitive events about the Russian-Ukraine war, etc.

On the other hand, the over 4.3 million ads contained unacceptable content such as copyrights, alcohol, financial services, healthcare and medicines, adult content, gambling, local legal requirements, and restricted businesses.

Speaking on the report, Google Ads safety and privacy director Alejandro Borgia said, “Bad actors use online advertising to cause harm. We are committed to keeping you safe online by building products that are secure by default, private by design and put you in control. This promise extends to your online ad experience, which is why we are committed to blocking or removing bad advertisements.

“To create safe ads for users, we have updated 29 advertiser and publisher policies. This policy creation cycle is continuous and as we detect new issues that are emerging on the internet, we are constantly refining our policies and creating new policies when necessary. We will continue to invest in policies our team experts and enforcement technology to stay ahead of potential threats”.

Investors King understands that Google is also rolling out an Ads transparency center or a searchable hub for all ads from verified advertisers where users can see what they have run on the platform, the formats, and more.

It is interesting to note that there have been incessant complaints from users stating that Google’s search results are increasingly stuffed with paid ads, and they expressed concerns that spam sites are getting better at pushing themselves up in search results by gaming the company’s algorithms. Users disclosed that using the site was becoming less helpful and more annoying even as it remains the primary tool more than 4 billion people use to search the internet.

Looking ahead into 2023, with the first quarter (Q1) almost over, Google has revealed that it is committed to providing a safe and trustworthy ads experiment for users, which it disclosed is the company’s critical mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. The giant tech company further promises to stay diligent in its efforts to combat abuse across its platform while helping advertisers and publishers grow their businesses.

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Starlink Pulls Plug on Ghana, South Africa, and Others

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Starlink, the satellite internet service operated by SpaceX, has announced the cessation of services in countries including Ghana and South Africa.

This decision comes as a significant blow to users who have come to rely on Starlink for their internet connectivity needs.

The decision, set to take effect by the end of April 2024, will disconnect all individuals and businesses in unauthorized locations across Africa, including Ghana, South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.

While subscribers in authorized countries such as Nigeria, Mozambique, Mauritius, and others can continue to use their kits without interruption, those in affected regions face imminent loss of access.

One of the reasons cited by Starlink for the discontinuation is the violation of its terms and conditions.

The company explained that its regional and global roaming plans were intended for temporary use by travelers and those in transit, not for permanent use in unauthorized areas. Users found in breach of these conditions face the termination of their service.

Furthermore, Starlink’s recent email to subscribers outlined stringent measures to enforce compliance.

Subscribers who use the roaming plan for more than two months outside authorized locations must either return home or update their account country to the current one. Failure to do so will result in limited service access.

The decision to discontinue services in certain countries raises questions about the future of internet connectivity in these regions.

Also, concerns have been raised about Starlink’s ability to enforce the new rules effectively. Reports indicate that the company has previously failed to enforce similar conditions for over a year, raising doubts about the efficacy of the current measures.

Starlink’s decision to pull the plug on Ghana, South Africa, and other nations underscores the complexities of providing satellite internet services in diverse regulatory environments.

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Nigeria’s Broadband Penetration Stalls at 42.53% Amid Connectivity Challenges

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Nigeria’s broadband penetration has stalled at 42.53% as of January, according to the latest report.

Subscriptions currently stand at 92.19 million, indicating a significant gap in connectivity, particularly in rural areas.

The Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 aims to increase broadband penetration to 70% by 2025, with the ultimate goal of achieving 96% mobile broadband coverage by 2030.

However, this ambitious target requires substantial investment—approximately $461 million, according to a recent report by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA).

While the country’s major telecommunications companies, such as MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa, have invested heavily in expanding their network infrastructure, much of this development has been concentrated in urban areas. Rural and underserved regions face a significant coverage gap, exacerbating the digital divide.

Despite these challenges, Nigeria has made progress in improving its broadband infrastructure. Since 2012, the mobile broadband coverage gap across Africa has decreased from 56% to 13% in 2022, due to significant investments in network capacity and new technologies.

Nonetheless, millions of Nigerians, particularly those in rural regions, remain without access to essential telecom services.

To address this issue, Nigeria’s government established the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) in 2006, aimed at bridging the connectivity gap and expanding broadband access to unserved and underserved areas.

The fund provides resources for deploying telecommunications infrastructure in economically unviable regions.

The success of these initiatives, along with increased investments in broadband infrastructure and policies to incentivize internet expansion in remote areas, will be crucial in closing the connectivity gap and improving digital access for all Nigerians.

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iPhone Shipments Drop Amid Resurgence of Android Rivals

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Apple iPhone 14

Apple Inc. reported a significant drop in iPhone shipments during the March quarter, reflecting a downturn in sales across China amid the resurgence of competition from Android-powered rivals.

According to market tracker IDC, the tech giant shipped 50.1 million iPhones in the first three months of the year, a 9.6% year-on-year decline that fell short of the average analyst estimate of 51.7 million.

The steep decrease in iPhone sales marks Apple’s most significant quarterly dip since 2022, when Covid-19 lockdowns disrupted supply chains.

This time, the Cupertino-based company faces challenges from resurgent competitors such as Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Corp.

These firms have rebounded strongly in recent quarters, and their innovative product lines have begun to reclaim market share from Apple in China.

Samsung Electronics Co. regained its position as the top smartphone supplier globally, while Apple ranked second. Xiaomi closed the gap on Apple, shipping 40.8 million units, an impressive 33.8% increase year-on-year.

Transsion Holdings, another key player in the budget smartphone segment, nearly doubled its shipments, showcasing the competitive environment Apple faces.

Nabila Popal, research director at IDC, highlighted the broader shift in the smartphone market, which has recovered from the supply chain disruptions and challenges of recent years.

“While Apple has demonstrated resilience and growth in recent years, maintaining its pace and share in the market may prove challenging as Android manufacturers make strides,” Popal commented.

Apple has a strong brand and loyal customer base, yet its market position may be tested further by the aggressive pricing and innovative products offered by Chinese rivals.

The company’s efforts to sustain its premium pricing strategy may also be challenged as more customers consider switching to Android alternatives.

As the tech industry looks ahead to the rest of the year, Apple’s upcoming earnings report and strategic moves to address this competitive pressure will be closely watched by investors and industry observers alike.

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