Attorneys General to Google: Stop Promoting Illegal Drug Sales

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Authorities in 3 states say Google allows ads on YouTube that promote illegal activities. Google says it's already trying to pull such ads.

The attorneys general of Nebraska, Oklahoma and Mississippi want Google to ditch some ads.

Who doesn’t? But these ads in particular promote guides for faking passports and driver’s licenses, or pharmacies willing to sell painkillers like Percocet and OxyContin without a prescription, Reuters says.

“Not only are the activities depicted or promoted in the videos illegal in and of themselves, but in the case of document forgery, the how-to guide could be instrumental in the commission of other crimes ranging from under-age drinking to acts of terrorism,” the attorneys general wrote in a letter to Google.

Google-owned YouTube said it will “work to prevent” such ads in cases where it has determined “that the content is not appropriate for our advertising partners,” and that it has removed more than 3 million such ads in the past two years. In other words, it probably hasn’t seen the particular ads in question yet.

Last month, Google said it was engaged in an ongoing effort to combat “rogue online pharmacies,” Reuters says. Google sued some of those advertisers in 2010, the Financial Times says. In 2011, the company had to forfeit $500 million for letting Canadian pharmacies advertise prescription drugs to Americans illegally, Reuters says.

Have you noticed these or other inappropriate ads on YouTube videos?

Stacy Johnson

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