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Joint Press Release: Google Takes Down Over Five Million Payday Loan Ads

Submitted by on January 30, 2017 – 4:15 pm
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This statement was issued by Americans For Financial Reform, Center on Privacy & Technology, Center for Responsible Lending, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low income clients), National Council of La Raza, Open MIC, and Upturn:

Along with fake prescription drug peddlers, scam weight loss regimes, and sneaky malware spreaders, Google has taken down 5 million attempts to trap Americans in predatory loans since mid-July, according to a new report from the company.

The payday ads were among the 1.7 billion ads overall in 2016 that Google took down because they violated the company’s policies against promoting illegal products or misleading, inappropriate and harmful offers.

In May 2016, Google announced that it would include payday lenders in the category of abusive businesses that were barred from its site. This puts payday lenders where they belong – in the company of businesses that offer miracle weight loss cures or sell items like fake diplomas and plagiarized term papers.

Often these businesses, including payday lenders, try to get around the Google bad ad ban by tricking the company’s detection systems, google watches for that too.  And, also takes down the web sites that are the click-through destinations of bad ads, including 8,000 web sites promoting payday loans.

In response to Google’s report, Members of the Stop the Debt Trap Campaign issued the following statement:

“We greatly appreciate Google’s recognition that payday loans are dangerous, trap consumers in a spiral of debt and serve no useful purpose for consumers. By blocking these ads, they have protected countless consumers and more companies should follow Google’s lead. While Google’s actions are helpful and important, an internet company cannot be the main barrier to abuse by these predators. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is working on smart, fair and flexible rules that, if finalized, will protect Americans from the worst abuses of payday lending.  We need this agency to continue working to protect our pocketbooks – it must not be undermined or weakened by the payday industry and their allies who want to keep getting away with debt trap 300% loans.”

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