Google on Tuesday announced that it is launching India-specific initiatives to bring transparency in online political advertisements ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, PTI reported. The company said it will make information on election ads public.
Google said it will introduce a Political Advertising Transparency Report and searchable Political Ads Library to achieve transparency. “These will provide comprehensive information about who is purchasing election ads on Google platforms and how much money is being spent,” the tech giant said in a statement.
The Political Advertising Transparency Report and Political Ads Library will be live in March, the statement said.
The new policy for election ads would require advertisers to provide a “pre-certificate” issued by the Election Commission or anyone authorised by the poll panel for every ad they wish to run on the platform, reported NDTV Gadgets. The company said it will begin verifying advertisers from February 14.
According to The Economic Times, Google will show a “paid for by” disclosure with the name of the organisation or individual on election ads, using the information provided during the verification process.
The company said it will make electoral information from the Election Commission and other authorities easily discoverable on Search.
“In 2019, over 850 million Indians are expected to cast their vote to elect the country’s next government,” said Chetan Krishnaswamy, director of Public Policy at Google India. “We’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes in India and around the world. In line with this, we are bringing more transparency to election advertising online, and surfacing relevant information to help people better navigate the electoral process.”
The move comes when social media platforms have faced scrutiny to bring transparency into political ads. Earlier this month, Twitter had announced that it will provide an advertising dashboard that will show expenditures by political parties in India on the platform during the course of the election.
In December, Facebook announced that users who want to use the platform for political advertising in India will need to confirm their identity and location and give the platform more details about who is placing the ads.