Preventing Inappropriate User Generated Content

AdSense Policy, News & Updates
Last updated: September 18, 2019 | by Kean Graham

This post was most recently updated on September 18th, 2019

A few days ago, I wrote about how to avoid adult content rejections from Google AdSense. One of the most pernicious ways in which adult content can find its way on your site without your knowledge is through user-generated content. User-generated content can be wonderful. Sometimes, comment sections can even be more informative than articles themselves. This is particularly true if you have an active and intelligent user base. Unfortunately, the same freedom that allows users to post intelligent posts also allows them to post inappropriate content.

If users have posted inappropriate content to your site, it’s your problem. Sorry to be blunt, but if your users are posting adult content to your site, it’s your responsibility to remove it. If you don’t, you can’t run Google ads on those pages.

Fortunately, Google is proactively addressing this issue by releasing resources to help you find, remove, and prevent inappropriate content. One of these resources is yet another Google AdSense policies video in which David McDonough of Google explored tips and tricks to make sure you’re compliant.

Google has a vested interest in making sure their publishers are compliant with these rules. For one, they want to make sure sites that run Google ads are as family-a friendly as possible so that advertisers continue to feel comfortable running Google ads. Second, they want publishers to be as clear as possible with the rules and how they can address these issues.

Here are some of Google’s tips for managing user-generated content:

Find inappropriate content

First things first: find the inappropriate content on your site. If you haven’t been actively monitoring user-generated content on your site you may not know the extent of the problem. To find inappropriate user-generated content, go to Google.com and type site:[your_url] [inappropriate terms].

That string will show you every page on your site with inappropriate terms. From there, you have a choice: remove the inappropriate user-generated content, or remove ads from those pages.

Selectively run Google AdSense ads

You don’t need to run Google ads on every page. If one page, in particular, is prone to inappropriate user-generated content, remove your Google AdSense ads. Sure, you might miss out on some ad revenue. But you won’t run the risk of having Google AdSense permission revoked completely.

It’s also a wise idea to run filters to make sure ads cannot run on pages that have inappropriate terms in the filter.

Prevent future violations

OK, so you’ve successfully cleaned up the user-generated content on your site. Now what?

You should work hard to prevent all future instances of inappropriate content on your site. That way, you won’t have to play whack-a-mole with every comment or forum post on your site. Google’s video recommends a few ways of preventing the future resurgence of inappropriate user-generated content, including:

  • Installing Captchas.
  • Requiring users to sign up before posting.
  • Installing adult-language filters to proactively prevent inappropriate content.

You shouldn’t have to pay the price of a Google AdSense rejection just because some of your users posted inappropriate content. Be proactive in removing and preventing it! If you still need more suggestions, watch the video I linked to in this post. It’s comprehensive and easy-to-digest, with the explicit goal of making it easier to stay compliant with Google’s terms and conditions.

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