Google to begin vetting election advertiser identities

Google to begin vetting election advertiser identities
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Google announced on Friday that it will now require advertisers to verify that they are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents in order to purchase ads for candidates running for office.

Such political advertisers will now to have to provide Google a government-issued ID, among other materials.

Political advertisements on Google will now also feature disclosures that reveal who paid for them.

The changes are set to take effect later this year, in advance of November's midterm elections, Google said in a blog post.

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The search and advertising giant’s move comes as major technology platforms take steps to curb the potential for foreign governments to meddle in elections through their platforms.

In recent months, Facebook and Twitter have both unveiled new updates to verify and increase the transparency of political ads on their websites. Unlike those two platforms, Google’s verification and disclosures will be limited to ads focused on candidates, not broader political and social issues. Google could still change this in the future.

The moves by tech companies to increase political ad transparency comes after Russians used their platforms to purchase ads and spread content in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Lawmakers in Congress are pushing for legislation that would regulate digital platforms to the same ad transparency standards as print, TV and radio mediums.

Facebook and Twitter have supported such legislation, but Google has not yet joined them.