Nov 21, 2019 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) -- Google /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +0.94% has announced that it will limit how political advertisers can target people online.
The popular internet search engine, owned by Alphabet Inc., said that it will no longer allow election ads to be targeted based on political affiliation on Google Search, YouTube and across the entire web. The company is also restricting misinformation and banning doctored media known as "deep fakes" in advertisements.
The moves come after Google and rival Facebook Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB +0.85% were widely criticized for running ads from U.S. President Donald Trump that were intentionally misleading. Twitter Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +0.50% announced in October that it is completely banning campaign advertising from its platform. Google's steps could curtail campaigns just as they are escalating spending for the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Google also announced that it is removing access to a valuable tool called "Customer Match" for political ads. This technology lets advertisers combine their own data, such as email lists, with Google's massive corpus of digital information, to target audiences even more accurately.
Despite the announced changes, Google isn't limiting political ads altogether. Election ads will still be able to target users based on age, gender and location by postal code. Additionally, Google said it's updating its overall advertising policy to prohibit "misleading claims about the census process, and ads or destinations making demonstrably false claims that could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process."
Google has reported $127 million U.S. in revenue from American political ads since June 2018, representing a small sliver of the company's overall sales.