Google is updating its Shocking Content policy to exclude gameplay imagery

Google is urging brands to check how this update could impact their site or app once the new rules are implemented next month.

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Google will exclude gameplay imagery from its Shocking Content policy next month.

The Publisher Restrictions guidelines will be updated to include the exception on August 30, the Ads Manager team has confirmed to Search Engine Land.

Why we care. It’s important for marketers to ensure they are staying compliant with Google policy changes to avoid potential penalties and exclusions.

What’s new? Once the new updates are rolled out, gameplay content will only be excluded if it contains gruesome, graphic or disgusting accounts or imagery and depicts acts of:

  • Torture.
  • Sexual violence.
  • Violence against minors.
  • Violence against prominent real-name persons.
  • Violence against an individual or group on the basis of a characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.

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What has Google said? Google is advising brands to review the update to check how their site or app will be impacted.

If a brand would like to challenge previous content exclusions based on this update, they have the right to appeal. A spokesperson said:

  • “If your site or app received restricted ad serving previously due to Shocking content but you believe ad serving should no longer be restricted following the update, you may request a review or appeal of your site or app on or after 30 August 2023.”

Deep dive. Read Google’s ‘Shocking content‘ rules for more information on what content exclusions apply to. For more information on appealing content exclusion decisions, read Google’s Policy Center guidelines.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Nicola Agius
Nicola Agius was Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land from 2023-2024. She covered paid media, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company's editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book Mastering In-House SEO.

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