AI-altered political ads must now be disclosed on Google and YouTube

Vigilance on AI-Altered Political Ads

As Election Season Looms

With election season on the horizon, Google and YouTube are vigilant about AI-altered political advertisements, a mounting concern as political campaigns increasingly embrace generative AI technology.


Disclosure Mandate

Strengthening Google’s Political Content Policy

Google has bolstered its political content policy, demanding that any advertising content showcasing “synthetic” or artificially manipulated individuals, voices, or events must explicitly disclose the use of such technology within the ad itself. While Google already prohibits deep fake content in advertising, these enhanced disclosure rules extend to any AI alterations beyond minor edits, as reported by the Washington Post. The policy does include an exemption for synthetic content modifications that have no significant bearing on the ad’s assertions. AI technology may also be employed for video and photo editing tasks, such as image resizing, cropping, color correction, defect correction, or background adjustments.


Political Ads in the Tech Arena

An Evolving Landscape

Political advertisements and their convergence with Big Tech are evolving into a substantial component of the forthcoming 2024 election. Elon Musk recently proclaimed that X (formerly Twitter) will once again permit political ads from candidates and political parties, marking a reversal of a four-year-old, comprehensive ban on all political ads. This development coincides with platform users reporting an upsurge in unlabeled advertisements infiltrating their feeds.


Enforcement Gaps on Meta Platforms

Meta’s Political Ads Policy Scrutinized

A September report from Media Matters for America has brought to light enforcement gaps in Meta platforms concerning their political ads policy. The report cited instances of unlabeled right-wing advertisements making their way onto Facebook and Instagram.


Google’s Policy Rollout

Effective in November

Google’s revamped policy is scheduled to take effect in November and will encompass election-related ads across Google’s platforms, including YouTube, as well as third-party sites within the company’s advertising network.