Google and Facebook Ban Bail Bond Ads

May 17, 2018 by

After claiming to have removed 3.2 billion bad ads last year, Google announced a new policy to begin in July: banning the promotion of bail bond services. Shortly after Google’s announcement, Facebook, too, announced they would be banning bail bond advertisements from their platforms.

“We made this decision based on our commitment to protect our users from deceptive or harmful products, but the issue of bail bond reform has drawn support from a wide range of groups and organizations,” reads Google’s press release.

As the conversation surrounding cash bail grows, states have taken up the issue and have, increasingly, started to change their laws.

Alaska recently started shifting their system away from cash bail towards risk assessments and New Jersey has largely eliminated cash bail. California is poised to begin considering reforming their system, as well. While Texas hasn’t addressed the issue yet, activist groups have sued two of the state’s biggest counties – Harris and Dallas – over their bail systems and, so far, have seen success in the courts.

There is no doubt that when it comes to advertising platforms, Google and Facebook dominate the field. So, undoubtedly these policy changes will have an impact on the bail bond industry, but changing ad policy doesn’t equate to changing the law.

Some are arguing that this effort will actually have an adverse impact.

Opponents of the move claim that it’s going to limit the exposure of these services to vulnerable populations who need or want to get out of jail now and await their court date.

The American Bail Coalition said, “It is shameful that Google would deny people access to bail services, which are heavily regulated by state insurance commissioners around the country.” They continued, “Unfortunately, their alarming move to re-write state and federal statutes on their own is inconsistent with the rule of law and the U.S. Bill of Rights.”

Bail bond reform is an issue that has attracted a bipartisan group of supporters to the conversation like Senators Rand Paul and Kamala Harris, and this move by two of the biggest tech giants will undoubtedly continue to fuel that conversation.

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About the Author

Charles operates the Houston office for Empower Texans/Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.