Following global cues, Google too has announced to revise its rules on political ads, in a season which is quite a consequential election season. However, while Twitter announced to curb political advertising completely, Google has taken a rather safe path by limiting the ads ability to effect a particular demography along with the promise to stand against “demonstrably false claims.”
The internet giant released a blog post this Wednesday where it explained its new rules against ad targeting.
Scott Spencer, VP of product management at Google Ads wrote;
“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.”
He elaborated that the key changes being made are the limitation of targeting terms which could be purchased for political advertising and then appear on display ads and YouTube.
Google, without a doubt, has an in depth knowledge of each of its users and displays ads accordingly to the people regarding the product or the issue of their interest. However, from December, if ads are identified to be political, they will only be targeted to certain age groups in certain postal codes.
Its a nice move from the company but it is worth noting that micro-targeting is not just limited to political issues. People can buy ads on other equally sensitive terms to affect a certain demography or mindset of people.
Google has stated that;
“[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 has further stated that it would not allow;
“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.”
Moving ahead, Google has also made a rather exasperating statement noting that “no one can sensibly adjudicate every political claim, counterclaim, and insinuation,” hence it will only be taking “very limited” actions.
Clearly, of all the institutions capable to tackle micro-targeting and political ads, Google is at the pinnacle, and it needs to be very cautious with the promises it makes in this direction.