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After Twitter announced that it will do its part to ensure a fair Lok Sabha Election this year, Google has also joined the fray and has announced that ahead of the elections next year, it will bring more openness to online election advertising and enable voters to get all the election-related information they need. The company said that in order to bring more transparency to the online election ads, it will also introduce an India-specific Political Advertising Transparency Report and searchable Political Ads Library.
The India Political Ads Transparency Report and Ads Library will go live on March 2019, and Google says that these “will provide comprehensive information about who is purchasing election ads on Google platforms and how much money is being spent.” Google has these these features enabled in the US and those who wish to see how much those verified advertisers are spending to run ads on Google Ads Services can visit this link.
People can see the spending by location (selecting the state from the drop down menu), by top advertiser (typing and searching names of people or groups) and by searching for keywords (typing and searching for keywords/names of political leaders). For the elections, Google will also make electoral information from the Election Commission of India and other authoritative sources easily discoverable on Search.
“In 2019, over 850 million Indians are expected to cast their vote to elect the country’s next government. We’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes in India and around the world. In line with this, we are bringing more transparency to election advertising online, and surfacing relevant information to help people better navigate the electoral process,” Chetan Krishnaswamy, Director - Public Policy, Google India, said in a statement.
The updated election ads policy for India require advertisers that are running election ads in India to provide a ‘pre-certificate’ issued by the Election Commision of India (ECI), or anyone authorised by the ECI, for each ad they wish to run. After the pre-certification process, Google will verify the identity of advertisers before their election ads run on its platforms. The advertiser verification process will begin on 14 February, Google said.