Further protections from harmful ad experiences on the web

November 5th, 2018

Last year, after hearing from Chrome users, we launched a set of user protections against “abusive experiences” — experiences designed to intentionally mislead and trick users into taking action on the web. These protections blocked pop-ups and new window requests from sites with certain abusive experiences like redirecting pages.

However, we’ve learned since then that this approach did not go far enough. In fact, more than half of these abusive experiences are not blocked by our current set of protections, and nearly all involve harmful or misleading ads. These ads trick users into clicking on them by pretending to be system warnings or “close” buttons that do not actually close the ad. Further, some of these abusive ad experiences are used by scammers and phishing schemes to steal personal information.

Two types of abusive experiences where a deceptive site control appears to do one thing, but has a different behavior when clicked. One looks like a play button on a video but sends the user to an unwanted download when clicked (left), and the other looks like a close button but instead opens unwanted pop-up windows (right).

As a result, today we are announcing expanded efforts to better protect users against these abusive experiences. Starting in December 2018, Chrome 71 will remove all ads on the small number of sites with persistent abusive experiences. Site owners can use the Abusive Experiences Report in their Google Search Console to see if their site contains any of these abusive experiences that need to be corrected or removed. Site owners will have a 30 day window to fix experiences flagged by the Report before Chrome removes ads.

With Chrome, users are always in control and can disable abusive sites filtering by going to their Chrome Settings.

Stronger protections ensure users can interact with their intended content on the web, without abusive experiences getting in the way.

Posted by Vivek Sekhar, Product Manager