Google will let you turn off YouTube ads for alcohol and gambling

If you’ve ever had a Father’s Day ad offering great deals for your dead dad sail into your inbox, you know that online advertising can be disturbing sometimes. Children’s gifts for people struggling to get pregnant, pet toys for your deceased doggo, the list goes on.

Google is taking a small but helpful step to help people control what ads they run into. Starting with YouTube in the U.S., users will be able to toggle off ads for alcohol and gambling — two subjects that are very sensitive for a big swath of people. The new option will roll out to Google Ads and non-U.S. YouTube early next year.

In a blog post Thursday, the company said that it would add the option to its ad settings controls, which already allow people to turn off targeted advertising altogether. Technically Google says that uses who opt to limit gambling and booze ads will see “fewer” of them, but that language is likely allowing for anything that slips through accidentally.

As a sober person, this is a helpful decision for a lot of people I know who’d rather not run into booze deals online out of the blue. More of this please!

#ad-tech, #addiction, #advertising-tech, #alcohol, #gambling, #google, #online-advertising, #tc

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Sacklers—who made $11 billion off opioid crisis—to pay $225 million in damages

Protestors hold up a banner while surrounded by empty prescription bottles.

Enlarge / PURDUE PHARMA, STAMFORD, Conn. – 2019/09/12: Members of P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) and Truth Pharm staged a protest on September 12, 2019, outside Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, over their recent controversial opioid settlement. (credit: Getty | Erik McGregor)

The infamous megarich Sackler family will pay $235 million in civil penalties as part of a controversial $8.3 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice.

Members of the Sackler family own and formerly directed Purdue Pharma, which introduced the powerful opioid painkiller OxyContin in 1996. Throughout the years, Purdue and members of the Sackler family have been accused of using aggressive, misleading marketing tactics to push the highly addictive opioid painkiller on doctors and patients, which helped spark a massive nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose. So far, nearly 450,000 people have died from opioid overdoses in the United States during the past two decades, and the epidemic is still ongoing.

As part of the settlement with the federal government, Purdue will plead guilty to one count of defrauding the United States and two counts of violating the anti-kickback statute. Between 2009 and 2017, Purdue paid two doctors via the company’s doctor speaker program to increase opioid prescriptions to patients, according to the Justice Department. In 2016, the company also paid an electronic medical records company to install prompts and alerts in its software that would refer, recommend, and set up ordering for Purdue’s opioid drugs for patients.

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#addiction, #doj, #opioid, #purdue, #sacklers, #science, #settlement

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Former Facebook manager: “We took a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook”

Former Facebook manager: “We took a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook”

Enlarge (credit: Chesnot | Getty Images)

Speaking to Congress today, the former Facebook manager first tasked with making the company make money did not mince words about his role. He told lawmakers that the company “took a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook, working to make our offering addictive at the outset” and arguing that his former employer has been hugely detrimental to society.

Tim Kendall, who served as director of monetization for Facebook from 2006 through 2010, spoke to Congress today as part of a House Commerce subcommittee hearing examining how social media platforms contribute to the mainstreaming of extremist and radicalizing content.

“The social media services that I and others have built over the past 15 years have served to tear people apart with alarming speed and intensity,” Kendall said in his opening testimony (PDF). “At the very least, we have eroded our collective understanding—at worst, I fear we are pushing ourselves to the brink of a civil war.”

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#addiction, #facebook, #monetization, #policy, #social-media, #testimony

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