Google to verify advertisers buying political ads in US
San Francisco: Learning from the Facebook fiasco, Google has rolled out new policies for verifying election advertisers in the US that require additional verification for anyone who wants to purchase an election ad on Google in the country.
"As a first step, we'll now require that advertisers confirm they are a US citizen or lawful permanent resident, as required by law," Kent Walker, Senior Vice President at Google, said in a statement late Friday.
This means advertisers will have to provide a government-issued ID and other key information.
"To help people better understand who is paying for an election ad, we also require that ads incorporate a clear disclosure of who is paying for it," Walker added.
The move comes in the wake of strong evidence that Russia used social media and online ads in an attempt to influence the 2016 US Presidential election.
Google will soon release a new "Transparency Report" specifically focused on election ads.
This report will describe who is buying election-related ads on its platforms and how much money is being spent.
"We're also building a searchable library for election ads, where anyone can find election ads purchased on Google and who paid for them," Walker noted.
Google is already investing in keeping its own platforms secure and working with campaigns, elections officials, journalists, and others to help ensure the security of the online platforms that they depend on.
"We've developed a range of 'Protect Your Election' tools with Alphabet's 'Jigsaw' that are specifically tailored for people who are at particularly high risk of online attacks," said the Google executive.
"We've partnered with the National Cyber Security Alliance and Digital Democracy Project at the Belfer Centre at Harvard Kennedy School to fund security training programmes for elected officials, campaigns, and staff members," Walker said.
In order to prevent election interference on its platform, Facebook has also introduced new changes to increase transparency and accountability for electoral ads and pages.
To get authorised by Facebook, advertisers will now need to confirm their identity and location.
"Advertisers will be prohibited from running political ads--electoral or issue-based--until they are authorised," Rob Goldman, Vice President, Ads at Facebook, said recently in a blog post.
Facebook is also investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and adding more people to help find advertisers that should have gone through the authorisation process but did not.