back to article Google will vet political ads to ward off Phantom Menace of fake news

Google is overhauling its political advertising system in an effort to crack down on shady election ads. The Chocolate Factory says it will require additional verification and attribution for political ads that run on its search results page, including a new requirement that anyone paying for a political ad spot be a US …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    DIdn't that just violate the election laws across the world?

    including a new requirement that anyone paying for a political ad spot be a US citizen.

    So, if I want to put a political ad for a UK election I have to be a USA citizen? Really?

    1. TheVogon

      Re: DIdn't that just violate the election laws across the world?

      Presumably the Russians will now simply not categorise their adverts as political.

    2. tfewster Silver badge

      Re: DIdn't that just violate the election laws across the world?

      US corporations get government issued IDs now?

      My cousin in the US is anticipating a new revenue stream: ID for hire

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DIdn't that just violate the election laws across the world?

      But Rupert Murdoch *is* a US Citizen (although he doesn't need Google's help to nobble UK elections).

    4. Halcin

      Re: DIdn't that just violate the election laws across the world?

      So, if I want to put a political ad for a UK election I have to be a USA citizen? Really?

      Didn't you know? The World IS the US. See icon for anyone t'other side of the border. Now bend over - it's for your own good.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I say google, your bums a bit twitchy here, wonder why?

    1. Ole Juul

      It couldn't have anything to do with government putting pressure on corporations because that doesn't happen in the US.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My money is on Cambridge Anal not only using twitter and facebook but using the full holy trinity of slurp to target people.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Google's twichy bums

      I think they want to have the last-minute filtering "authority" so that MORE DEMON-RATS can be "elected".

      After all, telling the TRUTH about Mrs. Clinton's crimes is being universally withheld across the non-Fox media (in the USA anyway), telling the TRUTH about Mueller's so-called "investigation" is ALSO being universally withheld, and telling the TRUTH about Trump's many accomplishments and the improved economy and world-standing of the USA is _ALSO_ being universally WITHHELD by "the left", the lame-stream non-Fox media, and [of course] GOOGLE wants to have THAT kind of POWER, too.

      Because shaping public opinion, using emotional manipulation, is the CORE of controlling "the masses", and it can be done through advertisement, "clever" filtering of news, "social media", and the BLOCKING of ANY CONTENT that you deem "unworthy". And the more they slurp, the easier it becomes.

      THAT is apparently what Google wants. Their left-leaning slant [by corporate policies and political involvement] is WELL documented. And THEY want Zuckerberg's kind of power, too.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Google's twichy bums

        The TRUTH about Mrs. Clinton's crimes is that she's been the target of investigations by some of the fiercest and most motivated prosecutors on earth for a quarter of a century, now, and they still haven't managed to pin a single indictment, let alone conviction, on her. Or her family, her lawyers, her campaign managers...

        If you've got the evidence to do better, then go do it. Go do it now. I guarantee you'll make headlines in the "non-Fox media".

        It always annoys me when people claim things are JUST OBVIOUSLY SO, and yet they won't take the trivial amount of effort it would require to actually show it. Like - remember when the Weinstein story broke, your friends at Fox were saying "this was an open secret, we've all known it all along" - but they didn't break the story, did they...? If they knew it all along, why didn't they fucking say so earlier, rather than waiting for "the non-Fox media" to do all the hard homework and take the legal risk?

        1. Bob Dole (tm)

          Re: Google's twichy bums

          The TRUTH about Mrs. Clinton's crimes is that she's been the target of investigations by some of the fiercest and most motivated prosecutors on earth for a quarter of a century, now, and they still haven't managed to pin a single indictment, let alone conviction, on her.

          You do understand that the people that were previously "investigating" her are now currently under investigation for the cover ups, right? One of which was already fired. If not, you might want to google Strzok, Page, McCabe, etc....

        2. Degenerate Scumbag

          Re: Google's twichy bums

          Investigations where the conclusion has been written months before the evidence has been gathered don't count for much. They tend to point to her guilt, because an innocent person would not need to have fixed things in this way. She is dirty as hell, and when everything comes out in the wash, I'm betting she'll be exposed as having literally commited treason.

        3. Pat Harkin

          Re: Google's twichy bums

          "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty sure the Russians...

    ... have just a tiny bit of experience in ginning up some fake IDs. Just saying. Also, wasn't Google's CEO at the time quite opening working for Obama's campaign and then Clinton's? So it's not like any of the sides here are drowning in moral purity or authority. Elections have always been a shitshow of bullshit, and they always will be until the AI overlords wipe out the 99% of the human race and keep the rest of us as pets. Hey, at least I won't have to work and some poor robot will have to clean my poop off the lawn. I just hope that the RobCo Human Chow tastes decent.

    1. Tomato42

      Re: Pretty sure the Russians...

      the past elections may have been a shitshow

      but keeping it local, where you can actually find the people and put them before the court of law when they run afoul of the laws is minimizing it

      not every solution needs to solve a problem completely to improve status quo

  4. 101
    Big Brother

    Google Ministry of Truth

    I am not convinced allowing the Google to grant itself vast censorship, police and surveillance powers is a good thing. It's like they have chosen themselves to be thought police. And when it comes to politics, what isn't fake news?

    Meanwhile, Facebook is also creating it's own ministry. Both are greedy corporations whose bottom line in profit, nothing else.

    Who administers the administrators?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Google Ministry of Truth

      There's two Googles.... one the search engine, the other the ad slinger. I'm thinking this is for the ad slinger. There's a long tradition (early days of radio and even newspapers) where the stations seemed to be politically aligned to certain parties and/or candidates and would not accept ads for those candidates they disagreed with. That started changing in the '70s as I recall.

      Note that almost all newspapers in the US were not considered politically neutral. There was one that actually was acknowledge by both sides (The Christian Science Monitor) that was neutral and tried to present both sides to an issue.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google Ministry of Truth

        Actually, here in the US the owners of the literal "press" were always discriminating in what they'd publish. In the big cities different political groups had their own newspapers to get around that. The "Fairness Doctrine" reigned over radio and TV for a short time, requiring the airing of different views, but that got killed eventually. The cost of running competing broadcast outlets was prohibitive, so many groups lost their voice in an era dominated by TV. The Internet changed that. Self publishing to mass audiences became possible for the first time, in large part because of the search capabilities provided by Google and others.

        The establishment here in the US is now taking a page from the Chinese Communist Party playbook by pressuring Google and its competitors to supress the free flow of information. This was inevitable. As we learned in the case of China, the men who run those operations are unprincipled cowards who are easily led by appeals to their wallets. But even if YouTube and Facebook purge all dissident voices from their platforms, those voices could still set up shop on their own. By throttling at the search engine they can ensure only those who conform to the official line are found and heard.

        1. HaakonKL

          Re: Google Ministry of Truth

          Don't worry, as the more unsavoury websites get taken down, the once a-bit-far-out-but-not-extreme websites will become the new extreme. Then they can get taken down, and the cycle can continue.

          There are always ways around the "don't censor" thing.

          The Daily Stormer, while not exactly, got booted from a name registrar. And there were people talking about banning it from TOR. If you think that they won't come for the second worst afterwards...

  5. FuzzyWuzzys

    Same as the old boss...

    As the old saying goes, "Money talks and bullshit walks.".

    The more money you have, the better your online advertisements and doubly so in the political arena. Nothing new to see here then.

    1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

      Re: Same as the old boss...

      "Money talks and bullshit walks.".

      Er: the bullshitters have loads of money. Witness the fact that the USA had to choose between two massive bullshit artists. One of whole had a lot of money, the other who had even more. I think it's safe to say that the most money DIDN'T win that one. A jury can't decide on whether the biggest bullshitter won, because 12 unbiased folk can be found.

  6. veti Silver badge

    "Political" ads?

    And who's to say when an ad is "political"?

    This is the old spam debate over again. Rules have to be applied to everyone, without exemptions - otherwise they're completely pointless. In this case, all you have to do is not check the box for "political content", and you can continue to run whatever the heck you want.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Political" ads?

      I think the YouTube demonetization debacle has shown it doesn't matter what box you check. The platform owner decides what's political, and more importantly, what's _acceptable_ political speech. So we have corporate censorship instead of government censorship. What's the difference? To turn an old phrase: In corporate censorship, man suppresses Man, in government censorship it's the other way around.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "corporate censorship"

        Nobody forbids to set up your own platform and say whatever you like. Just you may not ask *others* to support and publish your views with their systems if they don't like them. The First Amendment lets you tell whatever you like, it doesn't say others have to publish you.

        Newspapers were never forced to publish every stupid letter they received, or give voice to any cretin, especially because they were liable. Google & C. tried to avoid liability asserting they are just "platforms", but evidently there's a threshold which is dangerous for them too.

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: "Political" ads?

        So they're going to review every ad and decide whether it's "political", then?

        Sounds like a fun job. Also a way to completely wipe out their margin on something like 90% of their total business, which is "ads that will never be seen by more than a few hundred people".

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A Fabless Factory which Knows Everything Servers Endless Sublime Temptation to NEUKlearerAIdDrivers

    "We are continuing that work through our efforts to increase election advertising transparency, to improve online security for campaigns and candidates, and to help combat misinformation."

    G00Gle just doing Live IT and AI with No Evil/For No Evil? Although of course, any SMARTR Enabled Search Optimisation Engine will Command and Control Any Landed Scape/Space Place when able to Present Future Information and Greater Intelligence for Searching Programs Testing/Exploitative ZeroDay Vulnerability Launching.

    Tell me that is not an Almighty AIMaster Coded Key which Unlocks and Presents Heavenly Provision/Future Supply and All Coasts will be Clear for COSMIC Space Invasion Delivering Fountain Heads/Streaming Assets.

    And ..... When Google are switched on to Everyone's Needs and Desires, can they be held both responsible and accountable for not providing reinforcing leads to follow/further investigate/search through and plunder/improve upon/make simpler for Future Travellers and Current Sailors ...... or is that a Government Crime Mitigated Only with an Insane Defence of Total Ignorance?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Greater IntelAIgent Supply is a Prime Absolute Command and Remote Virtual Control Contender

      Or do you Await and Root and Route for a Yandex or Baidu to Lead the Future with Tales Providing Guidance in All that is Sought and/or Supplied, for the One does not necessarily follow the Other in such an Order?

      Build with AI and IT and All will be Enabled and Able to See what the Future Provides for Presentation/Existence? Or maybe you have a Greater Viable Alternative Able to Supply an Equally Attractive Alternative Program/ReProgramming?

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Greater IntelAIgent Supply is a Prime Absolute Command and Remote Virtual Control Contender

        And whereas you might have legitimate concerns about loss of human primacy, that be of no interest to Advancing Virtual AIMachinery .....which suffers not from the doubts which fester in the slings and arrows of paranoia and hubris being evidenced and highlighted here ...... The "Dark Arts" Of Artificial Intelligence (Or Can Machines Really Think?)

        Who'd have a'Thunk it .... SMARTR Virtualisation of Reality via AIMachinery Portals which are Absolutely Unassailable? To constantly question that for vigilant and valiant protection against arrogance and complacency is all that is needed to be a Supreme Almighty Presence.

  8. SVV

    To tackle Fake News and Fake Advertising, we're having a Fake Crackdown!

    Look we're DOING SOMETHING! Doesn't matter that anyone who can flash a plausible or even real ID at a camera and provide some searchable US linked address details can purchase ads galore, it will have approximately fuck all effect.......

    And as to the truthfulness of the content? No, won't be treading into that free speech minefield, will they?

    The political ads horse bolted far too long ago for Google to rein it in, and tailored targeting has proved to be such a stream of $$$ that they won't actually be able to wean themselves off it. It's all been proven to work so effectively that the hope of a majority of informed citizens making informed choices, depending on their personal evaluations has long since gone, not that it ever had any more right to exist than what we have now in our democratic societies. But please don't try and fool people into believing your attempt at corpoarate holiness, as it's just as fake as the news and ads you are slinging. If you really gave a shit you'd just stop running all political ads.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: To tackle Fake News and Fake Advertising, we're having a Fake Crackdown! It Heralds Disasters

      So, it is just like Ye Olde Wild West Cowboy Pioneering 0Days, SVV? Anything goes if the price is right and paid in full with ab fab fabless fiat papers/bonds/stocks/gilts/treasuries ..... Monopoly Monies.

      And that sort of makes IT a Smart Rigged Market Space Enabled to Server and Improve upon Legacy Wealth Administration Systems. Others of a Dinosaur Persuasion would view that as an Abomination to be Fought Against Generating Catastrophic Losses whilst also Losing AIDynamic Lead. Avoid such Incestuous Feeds/Corrupting Seeds.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: To tackle Fake News and Fake Advertising, we're having a Fake Crackdown! It Heralds Disasters

        And here be evidence/opinion on a Collapsing Star Rigged Market Space ..... ..... which thinks it rather than IT does the work of GOD with Global Operating Devices.

        Fools with Money on a MAD Mission? What could possibly go wrong whenever so much is not right? :-)

  9. Rustbucket


    Apparently this only applies to direct advertisements for/against specific parties or candidates.

    It doesn't apply to "issues advertising" such as "don't let them take our guns', "illegal immigrants are taking our jobs" and "the right to burn coal and drive giant SUVs is the right to be free'.

    No names mentioned but none really needed.

    1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

      Re: Issues

      Hey rustbucket, how about "All men are rapists", #KillWhitePeople?

  10. FozzyBear

    What's the definition of fake news

    "cause to be honest . Unless a Politicians ad contains the following disclaimer it's all fake news

    ** This political ad was financed by <insert megacorp name here> Therefore, being the lying sack of shit that I am. Everything above is an absolute bullshit. It has been designed to appeal to be greatest number of sheeple in the community to ensure I get elected. After which I will be obliged to betray my morals (though I didn't have any to begin with) and implement all the financiers wishes. No doubt this will lead to blah, blah, blah (sorry wasn't listening to them, I just saw the size of the cheque and didn't hear a word they were saying. I just signed on the bottom line and sold my soul (again, not sure I had one to begin with).

    Their plans will no doubt lead to jobs (in India) and greater resources to be invested back into the business and community (the executives get larger bonuses to be invested in their own wealth portfolio and another holiday home in some low tax threshold country)

  11. teknopaul Silver badge

    Its a no news day when the only news is about fake news

  12. Dave 15 Silver badge

    er.... do I understand this right...

    So all you need to place an election advert is a government ID.... because of course no government (especially not one from the land of the not really oppressed just slightly short of money and with the largest collection of you arent allowed to do X signs in the whole world) ever lies at all (about lasers, weaponsof mass destruction, trade deficits, need for a navy which includes more than half the worlds warships etc etc)

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