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Google to ban advertisers with secret affiliations, illegally obtained info

Google is going after advertisers with shady practices in updates to its ads policies, which will take effect on September 1.

The two policy updates will help crack down on political and election misinformation ahead of the U.S. presidential election on November 3, Google told Digital Trends.

“Over the past few years, we’ve introduced political ads safeguards to prevent foreign interference, limit targeting, and increase transparency in the election ads users see. To bolster these efforts, today we are expanding our policies to prevent the coordinated spread of disinformation from domestic actors who conceal their identity and illegally obtained materials via ads,” a Google spokesperson confirmed.

“We believe these new measures strike the right balance in helping preserve trust in our elections while allowing for robust dialogue and public discourse about current events,” the spokesperson said.

The first policy update bans advertisers who hide their affiliations to spread political disinformation, adding to Google’s policies that prohibit the misrepresentation of advertisers’ identities and misleading information in ads. The update will allow Google to take action against an advertiser’s entire network of linked accounts.

The second policy update bans advertisers using illegally obtained information, acquired through hacking or unauthorized access to confidential digital material, to bait people to click on ads. Google clarified that the ban does not apply to whistleblowers.

The move against duplicitous advertisers follows Google’s ban against ads from running alongside coronavirus conspiracy theories, starting on August 18.

Google previously banned ads that made harmful claims about the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, but the new policy will apply more broadly to debunked conspiracy theories such as the involvement of Bill Gates and the link to 5G technology.

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