Google has decided to stop implanting ads related to financial scams featuring former Hong Kong leader Leung Chun Ying and other officials, after Leung filed a complaint in person at Google’s local office.
According to his Facebook post last Wednesday, Leung accused the tech giant of “conspiring with criminal syndicates” and implanting financial scam ads featuring him and other former government officials. He said that the ads contained links that tempt investors to provide their personal information including credit card numbers.
Leung said that he had visited Google’s local office in Causeway Bay and spoke with William Farris, Google’s Taiwan-based managing counsel for Greater China, requesting the tech giant to stop conspiring with criminal syndicates and take down the scam ads immediately. He also reported the incident to the police.
Later in the day, Leung said that Google has decided to stop implanting the related scam ads. He also urged victims of the incident to step forward and seek compensation.
In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, a Google spokesperson said: "We have strict policies that govern the kinds of ads we allow on our platform, and ads that intend to mislead or deceive users are a violation of those policies. When we find ads that violate our policies, we remove them.”
A check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE saw on Facebook that some netizens supported Leung's move and some suggested that Google should be punished by law.
This isn't the first time Google has copped flak in Hong Kong. The tech giant has defended its decision to refuse the Hong Kong authorities’ request of manually placing the correct information of the Chinese national anthem as a top search result on its sites.
This comes as a anthem blunder occurred previously where “Glory to Hong Kong”, a song related to the protests back in 2019 in the city, was played instead of the correct national anthem at a rugby match in South Korea.
Soon after the incident, the Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau said its secretary Sun Dong had discussed with Google and YouTube about the matter. The Bureau also said that Sun had clearly pointed out to Google during the meeting that some search results displayed incorrect online information, which would not only easily provide excuses for the behaviour of some people with ulterior motives, but also mislead local and overseas netizens.
Google later explained that the search results were based on algorithms, after which the secretary for security Chris Tang Ping Keung described the tech giant’s explanation as "evasive" and "inconceivable".
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