×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Google Won’t Allow Political Campaigns to Target Voters by Affiliation Anymore

Google is tweaking its policy for political ads, which includes doing away with microtargeting by political affiliation or voting records. The search giant also announced Wednesday that it would clarify its advertising policy to make sure that political advertisers can’t make grossly misleading statements.

“We’re limiting election ads audience targeting to the following general categories: age, gender, and general location (postal code level),” Google Ads vice president Scott Spencer explained in a blog post Wednesday afternoon. “This will align our approach to election ads with long-established practices in media such as TV, radio, and print, and result in election ads being more widely seen and available for public discussion.”

The policy applies to Google’s search ads, YouTube ads and display ads that appear on third-party websites.

Spencer further explained that Google had in the past allowed advertisers in the U.S. to target voters “based on public voter records and general political affiliations (left-leaning, right-leaning, and independent). ” This type of targeting will now be removed, starting with the U.K. this week ahead of the country’s election. By early January, Google will have disabled the ability to target voters by political affiliation around the globe, Spencer wrote.

Google also vowed to clarify its policies around false policies in political advertising. “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,” Spencer wrote Wednesday. The company now wants to add concrete examples to its policies to make sure that campaigns don’t use manipulated videos, or claims that could suppress voter turnout.

Popular on Variety

“No one can sensibly adjudicate every political claim, counterclaim, and insinuation,” Spencer wrote about these changes. “So we expect that the number of political ads on which we take action will be very limited — but we will continue to do so for clear violations.”

Google’s announcement comes three weeks after Twitter said that it would ban all political advertising going forward, and also follows continued pressure on Facebook to change its policies around political advertising. Earlier this week, Facebook VP of marketing solutions Carolyn Everson said at Code Media that the company wasn’t looking to change the targeting capabilities it is offering political advertisers. However, soon after, she walked back those remarks, suggesting that the company is still considering a number of options.

Facebook, in a statement about Google’s political ad-policy change, said, “For over a year, we’ve provided unprecedented transparency into all U.S. federal and state campaigns and we prohibit voter suppression in all ads. As we’ve said, we are looking at different ways we might refine our approach to political ads.”

Gary Coby, the digital director for President Trump’s reelection campaign, took to Twitter Wednesday to describe any such changes to a campaign’s targeting abilities as “very dangerous” and a “huge blow to speech.”

More Digital

  • Cenk Uygur

    Bernie Sanders Retracts Endorsement of Young Turks Founder Cenk Uygur After Backlash

    Bernie Sanders pulled his support for Cenk Uygur’s congressional bid, with the Vermont independent in part acknowledging that Sanders’ supporters were “frustrated” about the endorsement. Sanders, who’s running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, cited Uygur’s announcement Friday that he would not be accepting any endorsements. In a statement, Sanders alluded to sexist and other [...]

  • Tana MongeauStreamy Awards, Arrivals, The Beverly

    Streamy Awards 2019: The Complete Winners List

    The 9th Annual Streamy Awards — honoring the best from YouTube and online video — were held Friday night in Beverly Hills. Tana Mongeau (pictured above) was named Creator of the Year and Rhett & Link’s “Good Mythical Morning” won Show of the Year in the two fan-voted Audience Choice categories. David Dobrik picked up [...]

  • NBC News - Quibi

    NBC News Digital Workers Form New Union

    A group of approximately 150 editorial workers who help produce some of NBC News digital content have formed a union, citing a desire to push their employer to work more seriously through such issues as equal pay and the recent handling of sensitive stories. Editorial employees of NBC News Digital won certification of their union [...]

  • Fox Nation Tests Holiday Programming

    Fox Nation Tests Holiday Programming

    The Fox Nation streaming-video service has long been touted as a new option for super-fans of the Fox News Channel. But some of the broadband hub’s new programming choices suggest adherents of “Fox & Friends” and Sean Hannity aren’t looking solely for chatter about politics and interviews with members of the Trump administration. Subscribers to [...]

  • Facebook

    FTC May Stop Facebook From Integrating Whatsapp, Instagram

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is weighing whether it should seek an injunction against Facebook to prevent the social media giant from integrating services like Whatsapp, Messenger and Instagram with its core app, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Regulators fear that Facebook’s app integration plans could make [...]

  • Ivanka Trump

    Ivanka Trump Reportedly Set to Speak at CES 2020

    Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter and an adviser to the president, is scheduled to appear on a panel at CES 2020 in January, according to a published report. Ivanka Trump will appear on a panel set for Jan. 8 at 3 p.m. at the Las Vegas confab with Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content