Google To Restrict Political Adverts Worldwide

Google has waded into the debate about social media platforms hosting political adverts with the news that it will no longer allow political campaigns to target advertising at people based on their supposed political leanings.

It comes after former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates earlier this month when asked about about his stance on political adverts, said he was more concerned by the targeting of these ads at various sections of the community, than political adverts per se.

And now it seems that Google has decided to make “a few changes to how we handle political ads on our platforms globally.”

Targetted adverts

Earlier this month an international “grand committee” of lawmakers had urged there be a pause on online targeted political ads, that contain false or misleading information.

Shortly before that, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had revealed that from 20 November, Twitter would ban all political adverts around the world.

But now Scott Spencer, VP of product management at Google Ads revealed the changes Google will make in a blog post.

“We’re proud that people around the world use Google to find relevant information about elections and that candidates use Google and search ads to raise small-dollar donations that help fund their campaigns,” wrote Spencer.

“But given recent concerns and debates about political advertising, and the importance of shared trust in the democratic process, we want to improve voters’ confidence in the political ads they may see on our ad platforms,” Spencer said.

“So we’re making a few changes to how we handle political ads on our platforms globally,” he said. “Regardless of the cost or impact to spending on our platforms, we believe these changes will help promote confidence in digital political advertising and trust in electoral processes worldwide.”

“While we’ve never offered granular microtargeting of election ads, we believe there’s more we can do to further promote increased visibility of election ads,” he said. “That’s why we’re limiting election ads audience targeting to the following general categories: age, gender, and general location (postal code level).”

“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,” he added. “It will take some time to implement these changes, and we will begin enforcing the new approach in the UK within a week (ahead of the General Election), in the EU by the end of the year, and in the rest of the world starting on January 6, 2020.”

He also said that Google is also looking at ways to bring additional transparency to the ads it serves.

Facebook stance

Google’s restriction of political adverts still leaves a huge elephant in the room, in the form of Facebook.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been facing ongoing pressure from campaigners and authorities, to ban political content on the platform.

Zuckerberg has also been on the defensive recently over Facebook’s stance of allowing adverts from politicians that contain false or misleading claims.

But Zuckerberg has insisted that Facebook did not want to stifle political speech.

Quiz: Think you know all about Facebook?

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

Recent Posts

Signal Shows Data Collection Adverts Facebook Rejected

Signal has had user-targetted adverts on Instagram blocked, as messaging service attempts to highlight Facebook…

4 hours ago

Oversight Board Upholds Trump’s Facebook Suspension

Bad news for Donald. Facebook's 'Supreme Court' upholds suspension of Donald Trump account, but asks…

6 hours ago

US Presses TSMC For More Chips For Car Makers

Global silicon shortage continues, as US Commerce Department presses Taiwanese chipmakers to ease the supply…

7 hours ago

Starlink Signs Up 500,000 Pre-Orders For Satellite Internet

Elon Musk space venture SpaceX has already signed 500,000 customers on pre-order for its Starlink…

9 hours ago

Apple Vs Epic Games Court Battle Continues

Second day of courtroom showdown in the US reveals Epic Games management would have accepted…

11 hours ago

Trump Launches ‘Communications’ Website

Banned from social media for instigating US Capitol riot, Trump launches 'straight from the desk'…

13 hours ago