Google axes political ads in Washington state, LinkedIn does it globally
New campaign finance rules require near real-time disclosure of data.
Google will pause state and local political ads in the state of Washington, according to an article appearing in GeekWire. That’s in response to a new campaign finance law that requires near “real-time disclosure of detailed information about election ads in response to public records requests.”
Here’s what Google said in its AdWords policy update:
Starting June 7th, 2018, ads related to ballot measures and state and local elections in the state of Washington, U.S.A., will not be accepted. Notifications will be sent to affected advertisers, and the Political content policy page will be updated on June 6th.
Google does not believe it’s currently able to comply with the new rules and so is not running the ads. LinkedIn has made a similar decision, however globally. Its policy now reads: “Political ads are prohibited, including ads advocating for or against a particular candidate or ballot proposition, or otherwise intended to influence an election outcome.”
Bing also generally does not allow ads with “political and religious content.”
The Washington state law, mandating new political ad disclosures and transparency requirements, is an effort to:
[S]implify the political reporting and enforcement process without sacrificing transparency and the public’s right to know who funds political campaigns. The legislature also intends to expedite the public disclosure commission’s enforcement procedures so that remedial campaign finance violations can be dealt with administratively.
This comes against the backdrop of “fake news” and election manipulation by outside and dark-money groups. The new Washington state rules require information about geotargeting, audience targeting and impressions, among other data. As indicated, the data must be contemporaneously available upon request.
Separately, Facebook and Google were sued this week by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson for failing to comply with state records requirements for buyers of political ads. The state is seeking penalties, legal fees and injunctions against both Google and Facebook.