Google updates European policy on political ads to fight fake news ahead of elections

Emily Nicolle
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The tech giant signed an EU code of conduct on misinformation in September (Source: Getty)

Google has said it will roll out new features and policies across Europe to provide deeper transparency around companies who take out political advertisements on its platform, ahead of the European Parliament elections next year.

Google's director of EU public policy Lie Junius said Google will now require any ads that mention a political party, candidate or current officeholder to make it clear to voters who's paying for the advertising.

It will also introduce a new verification process for those applying for ad space, in a bid to fight fake news appearing on the site from bots, spam groups or targeted users. Political advertisers will also have to submit documents such as a party registration document to gain access.

In time, this will lead to an EU-specific election ads transparency report, as well as a searchable public database, to provide open information on who is buying adverts, who they're targeted towards and how much is being spent on them.

"Our goal is to make this information as accessible and useful as possible to citizens, practitioners, and researchers," said Junius.

The European Commission said in September that tech firms such as Google and Facebook had signed an agreed-upon code of conduct to do more to tackle fake news, over concerns that it can sway elections.

Junius continued: "We’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes around the world, including by bringing more transparency to political advertising online."

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