Google on Wednesday updated how it handles political ads as online platforms remain under pressure to avoid being used to spread misleading information intended to influence voters.
The internet company said its rules already ban any advertiser, including those with political messages, from lying in ads.
But it is making its policy more clear and adding examples of how that prohibits content such as doctored or manipulated images or video.
“It’s against our policies for any advertiser to make a false claim — whether it’s a claim about the price of a chair or a claim that you can vote by text message, that election day is postponed, or that a candidate has died,” Google ads product management vice president Scott Spencer said in an online post.
Examples of banned ad material included ads or links to information making demonstrably false claims that could undermine voter trust or participation in elections.
“Of course, we recognize that robust political dialogue is an important part of democracy, and no one can sensibly adjudicate every political claim, counterclaim, and insinuation,” Spencer said.
Google’s main formats for political advertising are ads posted along with search query results, those shown at video viewing service YouTube, and display ads that appear on websites.
Google will also limit targeting of political ads to general categories such as age, gender, or postal code level location.
Spencer said, “Political advertisers can continue to do contextual targeting, such as serving ads to people reading or watching a story about, say, the economy.”