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Google to request verification for political ads ahead of EU election

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Google is requiring EU election ad buyers to verify themselves.
Google is requiring EU election ad buyers to verify themselves.

Image: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Now that we’re very aware of how foreign interference can affect elections, Google is rolling out transparency rules for the upcoming European Union parliamentary vote.

Google announced it will be requiring political ad buyers to verify themselves, the company announced in a blog post on Thursday.

In addition, Google will require ads that mention a political party, candidate or current officeholder to disclose who’s paid for it, and publish a report showing who’s paying for ads, who they’re targeted to, and how much is being spent.

The move by the tech giant mirrors a decision to demand verification ahead of the U.S. midterms. It required ad buyers to prove that they were a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, as required by law.

It’s unclear how the verification process will work for the EU elections, and we’ve asked Google for further details on this.

Earlier this month, Facebook delayed its plans to make British political advertisers verify themselves after it was revealed ad buyers in the U.S. and UK were entering inaccurate details about who they were as part of its ad transparency program.

These unvetted, inaccurate details mean it was easy to mislead people about who paid for ads. For example, Vice News were able to run ads as ISIS, Mike Pence, and 100 U.S. senators on Facebook.

Up to 350 million voters are set to partake in the EU parliamentary vote next May.

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