Google is following in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter by making changes to the ways that it handles political ads in the US to avoid another Russian interference scandal.
The search and advertising behemoth will now require further verification from people wanting to purchase political ads, including the need to confirm they are a US citizen or lawful permanent residents. In addition, Google will be more transparent about who is paying for election ads by requiring that ads clearly state who has paid for it.
Continuing with the theme of transparency, Google will release a ‘Transparency Report’ focused on political ads this summer. This will disclose who is buying election-related ads across Google platforms and how much money is being spent. The report will be joined by a searchable library of election ads, enabling anybody to see which ads have been purchased on Google and who paid for them.
Google has also developed a set of tools aimed at helping those at greater risk of online attacks called ‘Protect Your Election’ and has partnered with the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Digital Democracy Project to provide security training for elected officials, campaigns, and staff members.
“For over a decade we’ve built products that provide information about elections around the world, to help voters make decisions on the leadership of their communities, their cities, their states and their countries,” said Kent Walker, SVP at Google, in a blog post. “We are continuing that work through our efforts to increase election advertising transparency, to improve online security for campaigns and candidates, and to help combat misinformation.”