Monday, 26 October, 2020

Google to block political ads after USA election polls close

Deanna Wagner | 27 September, 2020, 13:01

US IT giant Google has chose to ban election ads on its platform for an unspecified period after polls close for the US presidential election on November 3.

The largest internet company said advertisers will not be able to run ads referencing candidates, the election or its outcome, according to an email viewed by Bloomberg News. "This is a temporary measure, and we'll notify advertisers when this policy is lifted", Google said in a statement.

"Foreign actors and cybercriminals could exploit the time required to certify and announce elections' results by disseminating disinformation that includes reports of voter suppression, cyberattacks targeting election infrastructure, voter or ballot fraud and other problems meant to convince the public of the elections' illegitimacy", the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said Tuesday.

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"Facebook will be rejecting political ads that claim victory before the results of the 2020 election have been declared", Facebook spokesman Andy Stone tweeted Wednesday. Axios reported the new policy earlier. It's important that campaigns can run get out the vote campaigns, and I generally believe the best antidote to bad speech is more speech, but in the final days of an election there may not be enough time to contest new claims, ' Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. It also plans to ban political ads in the week before November 3.

Google did not say how long its ad block will be in place across platforms, including YouTube, but reportedly said advertisers should expect the ban for at least a week.

The sweeping set of actions - the biggest the company has announced to date - comes amid what is expected to be a contentious election between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.