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Google Sets New Transparency Standards for Political Ads with AI Content

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

SAN FRANCISCO - Internet giant, Google, announced a significant change to its advertising policy, requiring political ads on its platform to explicitly disclose when images or audio have been altered or generated using tools like artificial intelligence (AI).

Set to take effect in November, the move comes a year ahead of the highly anticipated US presidential election, reflecting growing concerns that generative AI could be misused to mislead voters.

"Acknowledging the growing prevalence of AI-enabled tools that produce synthetic content, we are advancing our policies to require advertisers to disclose any digitally altered or generated content in their election ads," a Google spokesperson said.

It appears that Google's intensifying efforts to promote transparency extends beyond election ads. Earlier this year, an AFP Fact Check team found a campaign video for Ron DeSantis, apparently created using AI, which included images altered to show former US President Donald Trump embracing Anthony Fauci, a key member of the US coronavirus task force.

Up until this point, Google's ad policies have already prohibited manipulation of digital media to mislead users on political, social, or public issues. Any false claims that could undermine trust or participation in the electoral process are also forbidden.

Besides, Google has long required political ads to disclose their sources of funding. Moreover, it provides information about these messages in an online ads library.

The forthcoming update will further obligate election-related promotional materials to "prominently disclose" if they contain "synthetic content" — images depicting real or realistic-looking people or events generated using AI tools.

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