May 4th, 2018
Last year, Google committed to making political advertising more transparent. This week, we’re rolling out new policies for U.S. election ads across our platforms as we work to meet those commitments.
As a first step, we’ll now require additional verification for anyone who wants to purchase an election ad on Google in the U.S. and require that advertisers confirm they are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, as required by law. That 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’re also requiring that ads incorporate a clear disclosure of who is paying for it.
There's more to come. This summer, we’ll also release a new Transparency Report specifically focused on election ads. This Report will describe who is buying election-related ads on our 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.
As we learn from these changes and our continued engagement with leaders and experts in the field, we’ll work to improve transparency of political issue ads and expand our coverage to a wider range of elections.
Our work on elections goes far beyond improving policies for advertising. We’re investing heavily in keeping our 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. In addition to the industry-leading protections in our consumer products, 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.
Yesterday, we announced improvements to one such product. Google’s Advanced Protection Program, our strongest level of account security for those who face increased risk of sophisticated phishing attacks sent to their email address, now supports Apple’s native applications on iOS devices, including Apple Mail, Calendar and Contacts. We expect this will help more campaigns and officials who are often the targets of sophisticated phishing attacks.
We are also working across the industry and beyond to strengthen protections around elections. We’ve partnered with the National Cyber Security Alliance and Digital Democracy Project at the Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School to fund security training programs for elected officials, campaigns, and staff members. We are also supporting the “Disinfo Lab” at the Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center, which will employ journalists to leverage computational tools to monitor misinformation in the run-up to and during elections.
For over a decade we’ve built products that provide information about elections around the world, to help voters make decisions on the leadership of their communities, their cities, their states and their countries. We are continuing that work through our efforts to increase election advertising transparency, to improve online security for campaigns and candidates, and to help combat misinformation. Stay tuned for more announcements in the coming months.