In preparation for the upcoming European Union elections, which are scheduled for May next year, internet giant Google has revealed its plans to introduce new policies for political advertising. Due to increased concerns over online misinformation, the aim of these policies is to provide more transparency to voters.
The new policies which have been set out will require advertisers to get verification prior to running political ads. This comes after more than a year of tough scrutiny from the public, who are becoming increasingly worried over how online campaigns have been used to influence elections, including the US elections and the referendum in the UK.
Earlier this year, Google joined other tech firms like Facebook and Twitter by agreeing to a code of conduct. This code was created to fight the spread of fake news. By doing this, both Facebook and Google, as well as other firms, have committed to making political ads more transparent. These have also been implemented in the recent US midterm elections.
Next year, around 350 million voters are due to vote in the European elections. In order to make this process as fair as possible, adverts that mention a political party or candidate that are shown via Google networks will have to make sure it’s clear who’s paying for the ad.
In addition to this, an Election Ads Transparency Record will be produced, and will include a searchable ad library that will be available to the public. This will enable EU citizens to access information on how much money is being spent on political ads, who is paying for them, and who they are being targeted at.
In a statement, Lie Junius, director of EU public policy and government relations at Google said: “Like others, we’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes around the world, including by bringing more transparency to political advertising online, by helping connect people to useful and relevant election-related information, and by working to protect election information online. Over the coming months, you’ll hear more from us on each of these areas and our plans to inform, protect and support around the EU elections, building on our commitments made in the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation.”
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