14 Jan 2021

Google to pause all political ads from 14 January

5:38 am on 14 January 2021

Alphabet Inc's Google will pause political ads on all of its platforms starting 14 January, following last week's violence at the US Capitol, according to an email to advertisers seen by Reuters.

Close-up of the Google.com search homepage on computer.

Photo: 123RF / Anthony Brown

The email said the action was taken "following the unprecedented events of the past week and ahead of the upcoming presidential inauguration."

It said Google was planning to keep this policy in place until at least 21 January, the day after the inauguration.

Google had lifted its temporary ban on election-related advertisements, which came into effect after polls closed in the US presidential election and aimed to curb misinformation and other abuses on its platforms, on 10 December.

It said it was now extending the limited version of its 'Sensitive Event' policy that had been in place since protesters stormed the Capitol on 6 January.

In a statement, Google said it would "temporarily pause all political ads in addition to any ads referencing impeachment, the inauguration, or protests at the US Capitol."

It said there would not be any carve-outs for news or merchandise advertisers.

Facebook Inc also paused political ads after the 3 November presidential election, only briefly unfreezing ads around the Georgia Senate runoffs earlier this month.

In the email, which was first reported by Axios, Google also reminded advertisers of its policy against ads that promote hate or incite violence: "Given the events of the last week, we are extremely vigilant about enforcing on any ads that might reasonably be construed as crossing this line," it said.

- Reuters

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