Google tightens laws on political advertising

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The US giant Google announced on Wednesday to tighten its rules on political advertising, but stressed that it does not intend to “judge” its credibility except in exceptional cases.

Google’s decision follows an explicit ban by Twitter and a much-tolerant Facebook in the name of freedom of expression. Google said that “no one can judge all political statements and allusions.”

“Whether you are a candidate for a legislative election or are placing an ad for office furniture, we will apply the same rules to everyone,” said Scott Spencer, vice president of advertising, Scott Spencer.

The technology giant, whose bulk of its advertising revenue comes from, wants to ban messages that appear to be false (such as a wrong election date or a false announcement of a candidate’s death) or to specifically target voters.

The amendments will take effect from next week in the UK, ahead of the December 12 legislative elections. It will also take effect in all other EU countries by the end of this year and in all countries starting June 6, 2020.

The giant search engine intends to combat image and video editing techniques to look very real, though not so, and advertisements that may “seriously harm participation or confidence in the voting process or the democratic process” (similar to the erroneous statement that text can be voted on).

But with regard to the problem of candidates seeking to disseminate misleading information – the most important point for many voters – Google’s position is approaching Facebook’s decision.

“We recognize that a strong political dialogue is an important part of democracy and no one can reasonably judge all political statements, counter-statements and allusions,” Spencer said.

– “Very limited number” –

“We believe that in the end we will only ban a very limited number of political declarations,” Spencer said.

Last month, Facebook President Mark Zuckerberg defended political messages on his site, including those involving lies or fallacies, in the name of freedom of expression. In particular, these ads were considered useful for young candidates who risk being ignored by the media.

On October 30, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey wrote, “We believe that the political message should be spread on a scale it deserves, not by buying it,” declaring that the site will no longer accept any political message anywhere in the world.

Since then, this debate has torn the US political scene in as Facebook’s arguments do not satisfy many voters, especially Democrats, in exchange for repeated efforts by President Donald Trump to spread misinformation about opposition candidates.

He criticized US presidential candidate Joe Biden, especially Facebook for refusing to withdraw a declaration of the president containing the lies that affect him.

Last week, Zuckerberg announced that he intended to partially reverse his controversial decision.

“We are working on different ways to modify our approach to political advertising,” Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said on Wednesday.

– Like TV –

Google Group sells advertising space on search results pages via the engine, videos on its YouTube platform and in sections on websites.

“Given the concerns expressed recently and the controversies over political advertising,” Spencer said. “We want to improve voter confidence in the kind of advertising they can see on our platforms.”

The Google Group notes that it has never allowed precise targeting of followers in political advertising and plans to restrict it further. The only available criteria would be age, gender and area of residence without including content (ie, a candidate’s letter on taxes and an article on the economy).

“Our approach in this way will be in line with the old practices of the media, such as television, radio and newspapers, and will make it possible to see electoral advertisements more broadly in the context of public debate,” Spencer said.

The group will also expand its rules on transparency to include elections in US states, not just at the federal level.


This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.

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