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Google Chrome now blocks ads—but it may be biased

February 15, 2018

While the search firm has built an ad blocker into its browser, some reports suggest that it’s a self-serving exercise.

What's blocked: As of today, Chrome blocks ads that don’t meet standards laid out by the Coalition for Better Ads. Think pop-ups and auto-play audio on your desktop, or flashing animations and countdowns on your mobile.

But: The Wall Street Journal reports that some industry experts are raising concerns about the blocks. “Google overly influenced the process that selected which ad types to block,” writes the newspaper; the company may have skewed things in a way that could help it turn even more of a profit from advertising.

Why it matters: The ad blocking is being billed by Google as a useful service, but if the reports are true, its motivations may be off. Regulators, especially anti-competition powers in the EU that are already out for Google’s blood, will be paying close attention.

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