Google political ads policy a 'step in right direction'

Nov. 21, 2019

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OPEN KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION

EMBARGO: IMMEDIATE

GOOGLE POLITICAL ADS POLICY A ‘STEP IN RIGHT DIRECTION’

Google has announced an update on its political ads policy which will have an immediate impact on the UK General Election.

The internet giant said it is limiting election ads audience targeting to more general categories.

That means it will not allow political advertisers to target voters based on their political affiliation using data gleaned from their online behaviour.

Google also said it will ‘clarify’ its policies around deep fakes and ‘demonstrably false claims’.

The move comes after Twitter banned political ads, and will put more pressure on Facebook to introduce greater transparency.

However, the Open Knowledge Foundation said the long-term solution is reform of electoral laws for the digital age.

Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said:

“This is a very welcome first step by Google and will have an immediate impact on the UK General Election.

“Restricting micro-targeting and tackling some forms of false information will help rebuild trust in the political process.

“All eyes are now on Facebook, which despite making some changes, is still accepting money for political ads which can contain disinformation.

“But the long-term solution to this does not involve self-regulation. The only way to build a fair, free and open digital future in the UK and across the world is to update analogue electoral laws for the digital age.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

https://www.blog.google/technology/ads/update-our-political-ads-policy

Contact: Alan Roden at alan.roden@okfn.org or +44 (0)7753 904 531

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