Google bars elections ads from using political leanings, voter data
Alphabet Inc’s Google will stop giving advertisers the ability to target election ads using data such as public voter records and general political affiliations, the company said in a blog post on Wednesday.
The move coincides with pressure on social media platforms over their handling of political advertising ahead of the U.S. presidential election in 2020.
Google said it would limit audience targeting for election ads to age, gender and general location at a postal code level. Political advertisers also can still contextually target, such as serving ads to people reading about a certain topic.
Previously, verified political advertisers could also target ads using data gleaned from users’ behavior, such as search actions, that categorized them as left-leaning, right-leaning or independent. They could also upload data such as voter file lists to target ads to a lookalike audience which exhibited similar behaviors to those in the data.
Google will enforce the new approach in the United Kingdom within a week, ahead of the Dec. 12 general election. Google said it would enforce it in the European Union by the end of the year and in the rest of the world starting on Jan. 6, 2020.
“Given recent concerns and debates about political advertising, and the importance of shared trust in the democratic process, we want to improve voters’ confidence in the political ads they may see on our ad platforms,” Scott Spencer, vice president of product management for Google Ads, said in the blog post.
The changes are expected to prompt political campaigns to shift some ads to television and Google’s smaller rivals……..read more