Google announced that it’s limiting audience targeting on election ads, a major shift for one of the internet’s largest ad platforms that comes after Twitter opted to drop political ads altogether and Facebook said it’s considering policy changes including limits around targeting.
Under a new policy announced Wednesday, election messaging on Google’s ad platforms can target audiences based on only three general categories: age, gender and location, down to a postal code level.
Political organizations and candidates will no longer be able to aim their ads at would-be voters using more personal information, such as political affiliation and voting records.
Political advertisers will still be able to place contextual ads based on the subject matter of, for instance, YouTube videos or news articles that people are watching or reading.
The company also announced that it would clarify its ad policy to add examples of what’s prohibited in ads.
Material that will now be expressly banned includes deepfakes — sophisticated visual forgeries generated using artificial intelligence — and “ads or destinations making demonstrably false claims that could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process,” Scott Spencer, Google Ads’ vice president of product management, wrote in a blog post.