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Google promises more transparency in online election ads

The tech giant will provide details of advertisers as well as money spent on such ads.

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MUMBAI: Google has vowed to take India specific initiatives aiming at transparency in political advertisements on its platform ahead of general elections in the country. The tech giant will provide details of advertisers as well as money spent on such ads.

"To bring more transparency to the online election ads, Google will introduce an India-specific Political Advertising Transparency Report and searchable Political Ads Library. These will provide comprehensive information about who is purchasing election ads on Google platforms and how much money is being spent," Google said in a statement. The report and ads library will also enable voters to get the election-related information they need.

Apart from that, Google has updated election ads for the country. Under the new policy, the platform requires advertisers seeking to run poll ads to provide a ''pre-certificate'' issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) or anyone authorised by the ECI, for every ad they wish to run. Along with that Google will verify the identity of advertisers before their election ads run on its platforms.

Google said the advertiser verification process will begin on 14 February, while the India Political Ads Transparency Report and Ads Library will go live in March 2019.
The digital ad spend forecast report published by Dentsu Aegis Network predicts digital ad spend will touch Rs 14,281 crore by 2019. A majority of this predicted amount will come defiantly come from election ads.

“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,” Google India Public Policy director Chetan Krishnaswamy said.

Google will also make electoral information from the Election Commission and other authoritative sources easily discoverable on search for the upcoming election.

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