With general elections in India around the corner, Google has announced that it will bring more transparency to election ads by introducing an India-specific Political Advertising Transparency Report and searchable Political Ads Library. These platforms will provide comprehensive information about who is purchasing election ads on Google and how much money is being spent. The India Political Ads Transparency Report and Ads Library will go live in March 2019.
“In 2019, more than 850 million Indians are expected to cast their vote to elect the country’s next government. To support the democratic process, Google is bringing more openness to election advertising online, and helping connect people to useful and relevant election-related information,” Chetan Krishnaswamy, Director Public Policy, Google India said in a statement.
Google has updated its election ads policy in India, which now requires advertisers running election ads in India to provide a pre-certificate issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI), or anyone authorized by the ECI, for each ad they wish to run. Further, Google will verify the identity of advertisers before their election ads run on its platforms. The advertiser verification process will begin on 14 February 2019 and Google will begin enforcing its policy for election ads in India on February 20, 2019.
In addition to the Transparency Report and Ads Library, election ads on Google platforms will also disclose who has paid for the ad.
“We know that in the build-up to elections, people need useful and relevant information to help them navigate the electoral process. For the Lok Sabha Election 2019, Google will make electoral information from the Election Commission of India and other authoritative sources easily discoverable on Search. We’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes in India and around the world. Today’s updates are a step forward in this direction, and we will continue to invest in initiatives that build further on our commitment towards election transparency,” Chetan added.