As the furor caused by the role of online ads in the 2016 US presidential elections continues, Google is the latest tech company taking measures to make sure that all political ads run on its ad network will be transparent.
The last thing any of the big tech companies wants is to be implicated in another scandal related to the involvement of bad actors in elections – in the US or elsewhere. As a result, ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, Google is following Facebook in the transparency of political ads on its ads network. In a blog post late last week, Google’s senior vice president Kent Walker clarified Google’s efforts to verify buyers of political ads and to be transparent about who they are and how much they spend.
With regards to the US midterms coming up soon, Walker explained that in order to publish political ads, Google will now be requiring an advertiser to “confirm they are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, as required by law.” They can do this either with a government ID, or “other key information.” What the latter actually means, is unclear at this time.
Further to these measures, Google will be creating Transparency Reports that will tell interested parties who actually bought political ads and how much they spend on them. The reports will be published and made accessible to anyone who wants to find it.
This is not the first time Google does something to counter election interference. The Jigsaw Protect Your Elections toolkit is another.