Google announced Wednesday night that it will limit the targeting of political advertisements and bar certain types of misleading claims in those ads. Scott Spencer, vice president of product management for Google Ads, wrote in a blog post that the internet giant will only allow ad buyers to target political ads to viewers based on age, gender, and postal code. In the U.S., Google previously allowed political ad purchasers to target voters based on their public registrations and party affiliations.
The new policy also prohibits “deepfakes” in ads, misleading ads about the census, and “ads or destinations making demonstrably false claims that could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process.” The updated policy will apply to Google Search Ads, YouTube ads, and Google’s display ads on other sites and will roll out in the United Kingdom next week, the European Union by the end of 2019, and everywhere else starting Jan. 6, 2020. Facebook, Google’s chief rival in online advertising, has endured severe criticism from lawmakers in recent weeks over its policy of allowing politicians to lie in ads. Notably, Google’s new policy does not entirely forbid a politician from lying in an advertisement, and the company noted that it will likely only take action on a “limited” number of political ads.