The email, from the "Google AdWords Team," announces a new policy starting in September for those who advertise on Google Adwords, a service used to attract traffic to Web sites. It bans Adwords advertising for products such as knives "that can be used to injure an opponent in sport, self-defense, or combat" plus "Any part or component that's necessary to the function of a gun or intended for attachment to a gun
Examples: Gun scopes, ammunition, ammunition clips or belts" [and even bb guns!]
We certainly have no problem with Google prohibiting ads involving weapons such as nail bombs and grenades, as it does. But we see a big difference in banning ads for legal products used by many millions of Americans. The ban specifically includes sport and recreational guns and their components.
And it's not just ads that are being threatened. The email (see excepts below) includes the following: "When we make this change, any ads or sites that are identified as violating our revised policy won't be able to run."
In other words, Google is not just threatening to shut down advertising accounts, but also to disable Web sites with content about legal products (or topics?) that it finds politically incorrect. The email did not provide additional detail on the issue of the Web sites. Presumably, Google would shut down sites running on Google's Blogger service, but one could certainly worry the company might use its dominant search engine to make offending sites "disappear" from search results.