Google on Wednesday updated how it handles political ads as online platforms remain under pressure to avoid being used to spread misleading information intended to influence voters.
The internet company said its rules already ban any advertiser, including those with political messages, from lying in ads. But it is making its policy clearer and adding examples of how that prohibits content such as doctored or manipulated images or video.
“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 ads product management vice president Scott Spencer said in an online post.
Examples of banned ad material included ads or links to information making demonstrably false claims that could undermine voter trust or participation in elections.
“Of course, we recognize that robust political dialogue is an important part of democracy, and no one can sensibly adjudicate every political claim, counterclaim, and insinuation,” Spencer said.
“ So we expect that the number of political ads on which we take action will be very limited – but we will continue to do so for clear violations.”
Google’s main formats for political advertising are ads posted along with search query results, those shown at video viewing service, YouTube, and display ads that appear on websites.
Google will also limit the targeting of political ads to general categories such as age, gender, or postal code level location.
“ Political advertisers can, of course, continue to do contextual targeting, such as serving ads to people reading or watching a story about, say , the economy, ” Spencer said.
“ This will align our 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 will begin enforcing the changes in Britain within a week and throughout the EU by the end of the year, then in the rest of the world starting January 6, according to Spencer.