Google announced on Wednesday in a blog post that it has updated its political ads policy in an effort to help protect campaigns, surface authoritative election news, and protect elections from foreign interference.
Social platforms have been trending for quiet a while for the policies they embrace that will erode public trust. In the recent months facebook has come under heavy scrutiny over its political ads policy that allows politicians to lie in ads; twitter has also laid out its new political advertisements policy that will prohibit ads that appeals for votes and financial supports.
Google says its making a few changes to how it handles political ads on its platforms globally in a belief that it will help promote confidence in digital political advertising and trust in electoral processes worldwide. It provides a publicly accessible, searchable and downloadable transparency report of election ad content .
“We’ve never allowed granular microtargeting of political ads on our platforms. In many countries, the targeting of political advertising is regulated and we comply with those laws. In the U.S., we have offered basic political targeting capabilities to verified advertisers, such as serving ads based on public voter records and general political affiliations”, says Google in its blog post.
Although, granular microtargeting of election ads was never allowed on its ad platform, Google says they can do more to further promote increased visibility of election ads. It will allow Political advertisers to continue contextual targeting such as serving ads to people reading or watching a story about, say, the economy. This will allow Google’s political advertisement approach to election ads with long-established practices in media such as TV, radio and print, and result in election ads being more widely seen and available for public discussion.
Google says its ad policy is same for everyone, “Whether you’re running for office or selling office furniture, we apply the same ads policies to everyone; there are no carve-outs. It’s against our policies for any advertiser to make a false claim—whether it’s a claim about the price of a chair or a claim that you can vote by text message, that election day is postponed, or that a candidate has died.”
Google hopes to serve ads that are transparent and widely available so that many voices can debate issues openly. It already offers election advertising transparency in India, in the EU and for federal U.S election ads.
Having a transparent ad policy is Google’s motive and hopes to continue working in this area, hence it is looking at ways to bring additional transparency to the ads they serve and is expected to share additional details in the coming months.