Google eyes changes to political ad policy

Clay Curtis
November 11, 2019

The committee, formed to investigate disinformation, gathered in Dublin to hear evidence from Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google and other experts about online harms, hate speech and electoral interference.

For weeks, Facebook has been fending off criticism over its approach to political ads - including its decision to allow political campaigns to lie in their ads. Twitter's announcement came about an hour before Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg delivered an impassioned defense of his company's policy of not fact-checking ads from politicians.

Google is looking to change its political ad policy ahead of the 2020 USA presidential election.

Speaking on the floor of the Senate, McConnell said Twitter's logic that the reach of political messages should be earned and not bought through advertising, "quickly gives way to an arbitrary process of picking winners and losers in the competition of ideas". The startling claim sent shockwaves and even forced companies like Facebook and Google to rethink its policies.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday said Twitter's new ban on political ads on its platform will serve to crowd out less well-known voices and help clear the field for elites.

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Politicians can target groups of voters on social media, based on user data such as location, age and interests.

Russia's involvement in the US Presidential election, which largely hampered the then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's chances to win, once again proved the frailty of social media, internet and technology to safeguard one's privacy. During recent internal meetings, the company has weighed options to rein in the ads, including a plan to set rules for audience targeting.

A Google spokesperson told the news outlet that the company's ad policies are the same for both the search engine part of the business as well as YouTube, which it owns.

Clegg's comments to Politico came shortly after NBC reported that Facebook may curb political campaigns' ability to use microtargeting.

Clegg, a former deputy prime minister in the United Kingdom, also answered in the affirmative when asked whether the company could restrict microtargeting, which involves serving ads to people based on the combination of demographics, online behavior, voter registration records and other behavior. After all, money matters the most.

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