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Google Will Now Let You Limit Ads Around Pregnancy, Weight Loss and Dating

The search giant is adding more ad topics to its "sensitive categories" list.

Imad Khan Senior Reporter
Imad is a senior reporter covering Google and internet culture. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with The New York Times, The Washington Post, ESPN, Tom's Guide and Wired, among others. He also hosts FTW with Imad Khan, an esports news podcast in association with Dot Esports.
Expertise Google, Internet Culture
Imad Khan
2 min read
Google logo on an iPad
Sarah Tew/CNET

Google is giving people more control over the ads they see. The search giant said Thursday that it's expanding its list of "sensitive categories" available in users' ad control settings, letting them choose to block ads related to pregnancy, parenting, dating and weight loss. 

These ads will only be restricted on YouTube and the Google Display Network for now. Google Display is a system in which advertisers can bid to have their ads displayed on websites, apps, YouTube and Gmail. 

Sensitive ad restrictions will not apply to Google Search or Shopping, but the company does plan on bringing it to Search in the future, a spokesperson confirmed. 

Last December, Google said it was adding more controls for ads because some people said they wanted to limit appeals from industries such as alcohol and gambling. This feature could be handy for those recovering from addiction, as certain images may bring up bad feelings. Google's expansion of the controls to pregnancy and weight loss could be helpful to those who've had troubling experiences around pregnancy and parenting or for those struggling with eating disorders. People have written about unwanted ads about baby clothes and cribs following a stillbirth feeling cruel. 

It's not just Google that's been trying to tackle the topic of sensitive ads. Last year, Meta-owned Facebook stopped allowing advertisers to target people based on their race, ethnicity, political affiliation, religion or sexual orientation. In 2019, Twitter put a stop to political ads that advocated for a candidate or legislation, but issue ads continue to be allowed. Last week, Twitter also put a halt to climate change denial ads