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Google’s change in position regarding the keyword “abortion”

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Google recently changed its earlier position regarding the use of the keyword “abortion” by anti-abortion groups to take out ads on Google… Regardless of the position one takes on abortion, this decision by Google is the right one in the interest of freedom of expression (while at the same time drawing attention to other past examples that highlights the thin line that separates freedom of expression from farce).

Google in Shift on “Abortion” as Keyword, NY Times, September 21

Google has limits on what can and cannot be advertised; it will not allow ads for products derived from endangered species, for example, nor will it allow ads promoting violence. In the past, Google would not sell the “abortion” keyword to religious groups, but did sell it to other groups, including secular groups, doctors offering abortions and resource sites like Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Google’s policies are based on a number of factors. “We build out our policies based upon local customs and business practices and, as any sensible business would do, review them from time to time to make sure they are up to date and current,” said Ben Novick, a London-based Google spokesman

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