Google enforces block on porn ads on AdWords

(Photo: Jakub Krechowicz)

Google began to enforce its new adult content policy for AdWords last week.

The tech colossus no longer allows sexually explicit content in its ads, but adult material is still available through Google Images, Search, and YouTube.

Google first warned advertisers of the impending ban in March, and reiterated the change in a June email.

"Beginning in the coming weeks, we'll no longer accept ads that promote graphic depictions of sexual acts including, but not limited to, hardcore pornography; graphic sexual acts including sex acts such as masturbation; genital, anal, and oral sexual activity," Google wrote.

Adult entertainment giant AVN Media Network said they were caught off guard by Google's about-face.

"I was caught by surprise," Chairman and CEO Theo Sapoutzis told CNBC.

"I was one of the very first advertisers for AdWords back in 2002. It's something that's been [untouched] for 12 years, so you don't expect change is going to start happening."

Attorney Michael Fattorosi questioned how far Google's adult content restrictions will extend.

"This is another example of a mainstream company turning its back on the industry that has supported it," he told CNBC.

"The question now becomes: Will they block adult content from their search results?"

Faith-based nonprofit Morality in Media is advocating for just that.

"We applaud Google for these important strides forward, but continue to call on them to improve their policies and actions, especially on Google Search, Google Images, YouTube and Safe Search," they said in a statement.

"We are grateful that they are realizing that their profits from porn are not worth the devastation to children and families.

"We will keep working for YOU!"

The pornography watchdog put Google on their 2013 and 2014 "Dirty Dozen List" – a compilation of the biggest offenders in pornography distribution. The group took issue with pornography being allowed by default, and with the company profiting from sexually explicit content on its websites.

Until all adult content is blocked on Google, Morality in Media and PornHarms.com recommend that Safe Search be turned on in Google Search and Google Image, and Safety Mode activated on YouTube. They also urge parents to talk to their children about inappropriate content they may encounter on the internet.

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