Google, Twitter and Facebook are among the Internet industry giants that are giving their names and efforts to a non-profit campaign aimed at taking action against bad ads, malware and other schemes that abuse trust online.
Non-profit organisation StopBadware has partnered with the industry heavyweights — which also include the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and AOL — to launch the Ads Integrity Alliance, which will work to educate, tackle and promote awareness of issues in the Internet advertising space.
The alliance members have pledged to pool their collective talents, share best practices and formulate policy recommendations to tackle problems. The initial five will share information about trends and “bad actors” with each other and with/from everyday Web users.
Data about problem sites, companies and trends will be published regularly, while a community forum, BadwareBusters.org, is now open to encourage webmasters to communicate directly with security professionals and others that can provide valuable insight and advice.
StopBadware says that the campaign will maintain links with policy makers and law enforcement agencies in order to provide advice, intelligence and information to help keep the issue prevalent with authorities.
Eric Davis, global public policy manager at Google, spoke of the importance of the industry-wide collaboration:
Bad ads, such as those that facilitate malware distribution or deceive users, diminish the online user experience and threaten trust in the Web. The Ads Integrity Alliance will serve as a forum for us to work together to protect users from bad ads and strengthen trust in the advertising ecosystem.
Twitter’s recent lawsuit against a bevy of spammers raised awareness of a number of these issues.
The microblogging company took five companies to court, accusing them of being “aggressive tool providers and spammers” that promote practices that are in violation of Twitter’s usage policy, and annoying or abusive to users.
Users of the paid-for software were able to automate tweets to masses of users, and also ‘bulk follow’ other users with the aim of artificially creating influence and high audience numbers.
The suit was a message to other spam facilitators and, the company said, it provides a sign of its commitment to keeping the Twitter service spam free, safe and enjoyable.