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Google Updates Its Policies On Political Adverts Worldwide

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Following a series of backlash on online platforms, Google is finally extending a ban on political campaigns targeting advertising at people based on their supposed political learnings.

The new policy states that political groups would only be able to target ads based on general categories such as age, gender and rough location.

The restriction has already taken effect in the UK and the EU, but will extend to the rest of the world by January 6, 2020.

David Lee of CNN notes that this imposition would have a big implication for the US presidential vote set to take place next year.

The firm went on to say that it would remove ads which make false claims or deceptive headlines. For instance, an ad claiming that a political aspirant is dead or that one that gave a wrong date for an election would be removed by Google.

Facebook, last month said the platform would take down posts from anyone including politicians who tried to suppress voter participation, but would not prevent people from seeing that a candidate had lied. “We prohibit misinformation about voting and do not allow ads which contain content previously debunked by our third-party fact-checkers,” a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Twitter said it would disallow political advertising altogether. Google on the other hand is only reviewing its policies to limit what it permits with only the most obvious misinformation being acted upon.

“We recognise that robust political dialogue is an important part of democracy, and do one can sensibly adjuvate every political claim, counterclaim, and insinuation. 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,” said Scott Spencer, Google’s head of product management for Google Ads.

Google has raked in tens of millions in political advertising in the United States since last year and has been sort of quiet since the debate surrounding false information and how online platforms hope to handle political ads.

Its revenue comes from ads placement and will therefore be hesitatnt  to totally rule out sponsored ads altogether. However, the bane in throat of many is the issue of false information circulating via online platforms. President Donald Trump’s election campaign ran an ad on Google that falsely accused former Vice President Joe Biden of corruption for his role in Ukraine policy during the Obama administration.

Google vice president on Wednesday wrote on a blog post that Google abhors the circulation of false information on its platform. “It’s against our policy 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.”

The policy update was largely centred on ads with misleading headlines and content relating to election integrity or voter suppression.

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