Google blocks China ads that help bypass censorship – Financial Times

What happened: Google has stopped promoting ads in China for two websites that review virtual private networks (VPNs), software that allows users to jump the Great Firewall and view censored sites. VPNMentor and Top10VPN, two such sites, reported that they had received emails from the American tech giant notifying them of the decision despite having advertised with Google previously.

Why it’s important: Critics say the move highlights Google’s attempts to gain favor with the Chinese government. Last week, China’s market regulator called for internet platforms to intensify their control over ads on the internet. Despite the majority of its consumer-facing services being blocked in China, its ad business is still active and growing in the country. Google said it has policies that prevent ads in its network for private servers in areas where they are illegal. The company has been working on a censored search engine for China, although it claims it has no plans to launch the product.

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Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.