As part of its efforts to crack down on fake news, conspiracy theories and rampant misinformation campaigns, Google has announced plans to no longer allow ‘granular micro-targeted’ political ads on its platform. The decision follows recent announcements from the likes of Twitter and Snapchat, both of whom recently announced slightly different plans to try and curb the spread of politically-motivated misinformation on their respective platforms.
In an official blog post on Wednesday, Google said it is strengthening its existing ad rules to prohibit all misleading content, including ‘deep fakes’, or doctored images and videos, on all Google platforms. “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”, said the company.
Alongside manipulated media, other examples of banned ad materials include “misleading claims about the census process, and ads or destinations making demonstrably false claims that could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process”. While the company admitted that it will be impossible to root out every single misleading ‘claim, counterclaim, and insinuation’, it expressed hope that its actions will at least get rid of the ads with clear violations.
Google says it already offers ‘advertising transparency’ in India, the EU and in the US federal elections. Starting December 3, the aforementioned policies will also be implemented for all US state-level elections and ballot measures, as well as “ads that mention federal or state political parties, so that all of those ads will now be searchable and viewable as well”.