In a bid to bring more transparency to the upcoming Google this week announced an updated election advertisement policy where the search engine giant would be providing comprehensive information about who is purchasing these political ads and how much are spending on it. In fact, Google will require advertisers to provide a “pre-certificate” issued by the Election Commission of India or anyone authorised by the ECI, for each ad they wish to run.
As the country is getting ready for one of the most anticipated elections in the history of India, the Mountain View-headquartered tech giant is clearly trying to verify and clean the quality of information being put out there on the web.
“Google requires that all election ads contain a disclosure identifying who has paid for the ad. For most ad formats, Google will automatically generate a ‘Paid for by’ disclosure, using the information provided during this verification process. The disclosure will display your organisation name or individual name to users who see your ad,” says Google’s notice.
The advertiser verification process will begin on 14 February and Google will begin enforcing the policy from 20 February. The company would also introduce an India-specific “Political Advertising Transparency” report and searchable “Political Ads Library” in March 2019.
Chetan Krishnaswamy, Director of Public Policy at Google India, told a newswire, “The ads that will be covered in the Political Advertising Transparency Report and Ads Library are ads for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 that feature a political party, political candidate or current member of the Lok Sabha, or any ads that are run by a political party, political candidate or current member of the Lok Sabha… We’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes in India and around the world… We are bringing more transparency to election advertising online, and surfacing relevant information to help people better navigate the electoral process.”
With the information accumulated during the verification process, Google will:
- Verify the purchaser’s identity and eligibility to run election ads.
- Generate, when possible, an in-ad disclosure that identifies who paid for your election ad. This means the political party, non-profit organisation, business name or the individual name will be displayed in the ads shown to users.
- Publish a publicly available Political Advertising transparency report and a political ads library with data on funding sources for election ads, the amounts being spent, and more.
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Prajakta is a Writer/Editor/Social Media diva. Lover of all that is 'quaint', her favourite things include dogs, Starbucks, butter popcorn, Jane Austen novels and neo-noir films. She has previously worked for HuffPost, CNN IBN, The Indian Express and Bose. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org