UPDATED 11:24 PM PT — Thursday, November 7, 2019
New changes may be coming to Google’s political ad policy in an effort to stop the spread of misinformation during election cycles. During recent internal meetings, the company has weighed options to rein in the ads, including a plan to set rules for audience targeting.
According to Google employees, any changes made could possibly affect its other online platforms. This would include YouTube. The discussion comes as Twitter issued an outright ban on political ads on its platform at the same time Facebook was scrutinized for the decision not to fact-check similar advertisements.
“From a business perspective, a very small percent of our business that is made from political ads does not come close to justifying the controversy this incurs for our company,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Google’s current political ad policy only requires advertisers to be verified and disclose who is funding it as long as it adheres to local legal requirements. Although Google hasn’t received the same criticism on this topic, it has run similar ads to Twitter and Facebook and has reportedly made more than $100 million from the ads since May of 2018.
Furthermore, Google has been faced with accusations of political bias and user data mishandling. Sundar Pichai even had to testify on the issue before Congress last year. As of now, however, Google has yet to formally announce any potential changes to its policies.
“It’s really important to me that we approach our work in an unbiased way.”
— Sundar Pichai, CEO – Google