The Google Public Policy blog announced new policies for how you can use AdWords in the political debate space. Google AdWords requires politicians to comply with the editorial guidelines that (1) you can campaign for any political view, (2) you can ask for donations if you are a non-tax-deductible organization, and (3) you cannot mislead the searcher. In addition to these guidelines, Google has an additional guideline that restricts ads that attack an individual’s personal life.
Political campaigns can get pretty nasty and personal. Google makes it clear that they want no part of that. Google said:
Political ads must not include accusations or attacks relating to an individual’s personal life, nor can they advocate against a protected group. So, “Crime rates are up under Police Commissioner Gordon” is okay, but “Police Commissioner Gordon had an affair” is not.
John Battelle thinks Google is wrong on this decision, saying:
The first amendment is clear on speech: all speech, in particular, all public speech, must be allowed, so that the real truth can be assessed by an informed public. We don’t need Google, or anyone else, sanitizing it for us.
I for one hate to see one’s personal life get mixed up in public personal attacks. Yes, it is the nature of the political space, but it never makes me happy to see it myself.