Search engine operator and online marketing company Google this month decided to stop advertisements of alcohol and alcoholic beverages in Finland. As such, Finland has joined the ranks of China, Poland, Vietnam and South Korea as a country where Google does not advertise alcoholic products.   Kari Kunnas of the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) told the Helsinki Times it has not urged Google to change its policy. Kunnas could only speculate about Google’s reasoning: “It is possible that they considered it a problem […] and felt that a more straightforward position is the easier option.” According to newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Google wants to unify its regulations so that all alcohol beverages are treated the same way. Since the law in Finland prohibits the marketing of strong liquor (above 22 %), Google has decided that no alcohol can be advertised in Google's services in Finland. The Finland Times quotes Google product manager Sami Kankkuan who stated that the company recently decided to ban advertisements of alcoholic products in Finland, China, Poland, Vietnam, and South Korea on its own volition and that no country had directed them in this regard. Meanwhile, alcohol producers in Finland are objecting to the decision, stating that customers would face serious difficulties for the absence of advertisements on Google. It seems however, that Finnish alcohol companies have received timely notifications from Google about the new advertisement ban, just like their counterparts in China, Poland, South Korea, and Vietnam. Source: HelsinkiTimes.fi 04/05/13 Finland Times 04/07/13
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