Google on Wednesday announced that it will stop giving advertisers the ability to target election ads using data such as public voter records and general political affiliations. Earlier, verified political advertisers were allowed to target ads using data gleaned from users’ behavior such as search actions, that categorized them as left-leaning, right-leaning or independent.
Google said that contextual advertising, like “serving ads to people reading or watching a story about, say, the economy” will be permitted. However, Advertisers will still be able to target voters based on age, gender and zip code. Moreover, Google said it would enforce the new approach in the European Union by the end of the year and in the rest of the world starting on Jan. 6, 2020.
“We’re proud that people around the world use Google to find relevant information about elections and that candidates use Google and search ads to raise small-dollar donations that help fund their campaigns, But 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,” Spencer said in a statement.
The company will expand its ad transparency efforts to ads related to state-level elections on December 3. The company also explained that its policies for political and nonpolitical ads interdict doctored and manipulated media.