A civil liberties group in Australia is criticizing Google's decision to pull ads by the Wilderness Society that brought attention to "a boycott against a paper manufacturer that uses wood sourced from Australian old growth forests," the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The company to be boycotted - Australian Paper - contacted Google and the ads were pulled as they used brand names in their ad copy. "Google removed the ads saying that because the society did not own the trademark for the popular paper brand, Reflex, it could not use the name in its ads."
The Wilderness Society claimed they could use the words as they were not selling any of the company's items, just bringing to the public's attention what was happening. Google even allowed Australian Paper to run ads against the Wilderness Society when searchers sought "Ethical Papers" - the conservation group's website.
The ads brought searchers to a landing page defending its environmental policy. The ads have since been pulled.
"Freedom of speech campaigners said Google was using its muscle - more than 90 per cent of online searches in Australia are on Google - to prevent a balanced debate," SMH noted.
Google told the newspaper they preferred parties settled their own disputes.