I just received notice from Google that ad serving is being blocked on two of my hubs because violations for "Dangerous or derogatory content" were detected.
The hubs are "How Abraham Lincoln Fired General John C. Fremont" and "Ulysses S. Grant vs Robert E. Lee on Slavery" - not exactly racy or provocative content!
I've asked for a review of these pages. But I wasn't able to see exactly what was the content Google's filters thought was bad. Does anybody know how to find out specifically what they think is wrong?
I don't think there is a way to get an answer out of the mighty G. You pretty much have to guess. I've had these notices a couple of times. So I try to put myself into the mindset of a spinster lady who has never touched even sherry trifle and closely examine the article for offensive content.
I had one Civil War piece rejected because it showed an etching of a traitor being hanged in the very far distance. It caused the Big G algorithm to shudder and twitch in horror and spit out its warning about graphic content. I removed the image and all was sweetness and light again.
If memory serves, and it probably doesn't, there should be a link in the Google missive to a list of what is offensive.
Perhaps, someone else has some more cogent advice. I shall watch for it.
Rupert, maybe I just don't have enough imagination - anyone, whatever their station in life, would have to get pretty creative to conjure up something offensive in these articles. But, of course, that's the issue, isn't it. Google's watchdogs aren't human. I hope they are using an AI algorithm that continually learns and will get smarter about this as human reviewers slap its hands for making stupid mistakes.
I wrote an article about skin diseases in dogs. I included a photo of a dog with a skin disease. Google´s watchdog spotted it after a few years and took the ads off of my article.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
From what I have seen they are not getting better, just more intolerant.
If they're so touchy as all that...I dunno!
Reminds me of a story I read once many moons ago, I forget the source, but supposedly a true accounting of something that really happened.
It seems an elderly, prudish woman had called the cops to complain about neighbors sunbathing in their birthday suits...
The cops came, looked out the window, and said they couldn't see anything.
To which the woman replied, "Well, stand up on that chair, and you'll see plenty!"
It would seem that "The Big G" is a lot like that old woman--there's nothing offensive, but they're determined to look for it and claim to find/see it!!
Disgusting, maddening, sickening, and oh, by the way--that's censorship!! Aren't we supposed to have freedom of speech and of the press in this country? And yet, it seems this kind of thing is getting worse, not better!
Sometimes issues with Google like this are hidden somewhere in the comments section. Possible issues may be:
In several of the comments on "Ulysses S. Grant vs Robert E. Lee on Slavery" the words bondage and whipping are used. Maybe these are flagged by Google?
Mark Schweickart's comment on "How Abraham Lincoln Fired General John C. Fremont" contains an odd-looking contact email. You could try deleting his comment (and your reply) and see if that solves the problem.
Great articles by the way. I enjoyed reading them.
Thanks, Beth. I can see how a not-so-smart algorithm could get upset if it doesn't realize the context of some of the words associated with slavery. If that's what triggered this, I don't think writers can do anything about it except hope the algorithm gets smarter! Thanks for alerting me to that email - I'll check it out. That I can do something about.
Ron, I complained about this to the staff a while back and they fixed it at that time. But it might be happening again.
The problem was that Maven was placing sexually oriented ads on our hubs. You have to catch it when it happens and take a screenshot to report it to the team. But it's not easy to do since they appear randomly.
Asking Google to review by clicking the review button in your AdSense account usually clears it up because the questionable ad won't be caught the next time (hopefully) their bot examines it.
Beth mentioned an important issue too. I always delete comments that don't add value or that have wording that can confuse Google. What Beth found on your hubs could actually be the problem in your case.
Glenn, I hope that the Maven ad thing is not the cause. Because if it's not fixed and keeps happening, will we be getting continuing violations, and will Google finally lose patience and do something drastic? I was hoping to avoid having to spend time culling comments, but maybe I'll have to do that. Thanks.
Had a page about what a not so nice person Winnie Mandela is. Wasn't a very good page at all, but it got a lot of traffic at times. It was nearly seven years old when suddenly it became completely inappropriate.
Strange world we live in. We're being judged by robots. And we seem okay with this.
Lincoln = Republican. Republicans are evil. Military men serve their country. Republican fired military man serving his country. This is bad. Block the article!
Grant = General Lee = General Generals fighting with each other from the same country. Cannot co-exist, make peace. This is bad. Slavery is bad. Block the article!
Ron, I had this happen as well. My content was considered sexually explicit adult content (they were medical articles about pregnancy). I filed for a review of the content through Google and they fixed their mistake. I think it's more algorithm error (picking up on particular keywords) than anything else.
Unbelievably (to me), after the review Google still says there are violations. What's so frustrating is that the content in these articles comes nowhere near any of the items on Google's list of possible violations. That leaves me completely at sea. So, now I've deleted some comments, and reworded content that could possibly, maybe in a galaxy far, far away, be considered offensive by the most sensitive being in the entire universe. I've asked for another review. We'll see what happens.
Hi Ron. My thoughts are similar to Beth's, but I also can't help wondering if it is because slavery is detailed in both articles.
Google is hyper-sensitive these days. I've received a couple of 'graphic content' warnings over relatively minor things. Similar to Dr Mark's experience, one of these was for a picture of verrucas!
Your warning is for dangerous or derogatory content. Not sure if you've read the specific policy, but I've copied some excerpts which I feel may be relevant to your articles.
"We believe strongly in freedom of expression, but we don't permit the monetisation of dangerous or derogatory content. For this reason, Google ads may not be placed on pages containing content that:
Incites hatred against, promotes discrimination against, or disparages an individual or group on the basis of their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalisation.
Content that encourages others to believe that a person or group is inhuman, inferior or worthy of being hated on the basis of their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalisation"
Unfortunately, Google does appear to be issuing a blanket censorship over certain topics, even if they are factually and historically correct.
I did read the policy, and that's what's so frustrating. Nothing in my articles comes anywhere near anything on that list. That would be obvious to any person who actually reads them. But I don't think Google has people actually looking at the flagged content, even during the review process - it's all algorithms, and pretty dumb algorithms at that.
I guess the bottom line is that authors must think about how a not-smart algorithm could misinterpret their wording, even when it's totally innocuous.
As Beth alluded to earlier, Google has a list of keywords which no doubt trigger alerts, especially if repeated several times.
For example, I have several articles about dating and relationships which have received violation notices. Apologies in advance if I make anyone blush, but I used the highly offensive word, sex in my articles.
I had to go through and replace several of these with words/phrases such as, lovemaking or being intimate.
Yes, we are at the mercy of bots Ron, but you are not alone in this struggle. I can only suggest you look at what words may have triggered the violation, how often they have been repeated and look for alternative words to use.
Good luck with this!
I'm sure you're right, and I've been looking for terms that might be triggers for Google's filters.
But that leads to another problem. The only wording I've found that an algorithm might flag occur in the questions in my poll capsule. One says "he supported slavery" and the other mentions "people in bondage". To change that wording would mean resetting all the poll votes, which I don't want to do. I've emailed the team to see if there's a way around this.
After making changes, the Fremont hub is now clear, but the Grant vs Lee hub still has a violation on it. Thanks to Beth for her suggestions, which may have been what got the Fremont hub cleared.
I've reached a conclusion about the Google process. I assumed that a "review" would involve putting human eyes on the content. I now think that's not the case. It seems that Google's review process is that you make changes, then the review just sends the article back through the same algorithm. That's why they allow you up to 100 reviews per month - you are expected to keep blindly changing things until you happen to hit on whatever the algorithm doesn't like.
Finally, the last review resulted in no violations found. But there is a cost. Apparently what did it was when I hid my poll capsule in which the questions contained the phrases "he supported slavery" and "people in bondage". You can't change the wording in a poll capsule without all the vote stats being reset. The HP team tells me there's no way to avoid that. So, the poll capsule will remain hidden.
Thanks to everyone for your suggestions, which were a great help.
POSTSCRIPT - it may get worse!
I'm already seeing the pernicious effects of Google's obtuseness about what constitutes "dangerous or derogatory" content.
I'm in the process of writing an article about an important historical figure who said the following (can you guess who it is?):
"I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races."
I have no choice but to quote this and other similar things the person said - that's the whole point of the article! But now I know I have every reason to be concerned that Google's common sense-challenged algorithms will, with a total lack of historical perspective, freak out when they see those words.
Ah, it has ever been the fate of great writers to be persecuted. And now the rest of us, too.
Persecuted by robots.
I had a friend who was about twenty years older than me. He was several degrees more backwoods redneck than me. And he made my bit of bi-polar disorder look pretty mild.
He was certain there was going to be some sort of robot utopia in a hundred years or so. I always loved that guy, but I completely disagreed with him about that, and about many other things.
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