With the increasing pressure from Facebook and other tech companies, Google announced this week it will be updating its political ads policy. The search engine stated political advertisers will not be allowed to target voters based on their political affiliation. So, what does this mean?
Google’s New Approach to Election Ads
Scott Spencer, the Google Ads VP stated, “whether you’re running for office or selling office furniture, we apply the same ads policies to everyone, there are no carve-outs”. Google plans to clarify its ads policy around various false claims by banning modified and manipulated images and videos, otherwise known as “deepfakes”, also any misleading claims about the census and demonstrably false claims that could undermine trust in elections or a democratic process.
Spencer also wrote, “We recognise that robust political dialogue is an important part of democracy, and no one can sensibly adjudicate every political claim, counterclaim and insinuation”. So, Google will expect the actual number of political ads they act on will be limited, however, they will continue to do so for any obvious clear violations.
With Google’s updated political policy, ads referring to candidates, political parties or ballot measures will be prohibited from using Google’s tools that combine data sources and target individual users. Despite this, political advertisers will still be allowed to target voters by location, gender and age.
The giant tech company joins Twitter in voluntarily limiting its political advertising before two major elections. The imminent UK general election on the 12th of December and the 2020 US presidential election. This change in their ad policy before two monumental campaigns could vastly affect Google’s political ad revenue, however, they have claimed: “these changes will help promote confidence in digital political advertising and trust in electoral processes worldwide”. So, these changes could be for the better, depending on your ad opinion and political stance of course.