Google shifts rules for political ads, pressuring Facebook

Google’s tightening of its political ad policy could help reduce the spread of misinformation on election campaigns, but at a cost for lesser-known candidates.

The move by Google placing restrictions on how advertisers can target specific groups of voters also adds to the pressure on Facebook to modify its hands-off policy on political ads.

Google announced on Wednesday it would not allow political advertisers to use “microtargeting” which can be based on user browsing data, political affiliation or other factors, for its ads, including on YouTube.

Instead, it will limit targeting to general categories such as age, gender or postal code location. The changes will be enforced in Britain within a week and in the rest of the world starting in January.

Google also sought to clarify its policy by indicating it does not allow “false claims” in advertising, political or otherwise.

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