Google bans campaign ads ahead of Jan. 2020 Taiwan elections

11/13/2019 06:50 PM
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Taipei, Nov. 13 (CNA) Internet giant Google Inc. has announced that it will not run political campaign ads on its online advertising platform starting Friday ahead of Taiwan's presidential and legislative elections in January because of problems with misinformation.

In a post on Google's official Chinese-language blog for Taiwan on Wednesday, Google Taiwan senior manager for public and government affairs Anita Chen (陳幼臻) said her company will not run campaign ads from local political parties and presidential and legislative candidates from Nov. 15 to Jan. 17.

Faced with the constant threat of misinformation online, Google has been working with local fact-checking groups for a period of time in the hope of improving the media literacy of people in Taiwan, Chen said.

Such change takes time, however, and cannot be achieved in a short period of time, she said, and with the elections just around the corner Google decided to not run campaign ads for two months.

Google's decision is in sharp contrast with Facebook, which continues to defend running paid political ads ahead of worldwide elections.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced that its political ad policies and ad transparency tools have been extended to Taiwan prior to the January elections.

Public policy director Katie Harbath said in a blog post that anyone seeking to run ads about social issues, elections or politics in Taiwan must first confirm their identity and disclose who funded the ad, with a person, page or organization's name to appear in the "Paid for by" disclaimer.

Ads from authorized advertisers will be placed in Facebook's Ad Library for seven years, including disclaimer information, and will cover ads across all products on the social network's platform.

The Ad Library provides users with details that include spend range, reach, and name of the person or entity behind the ad, she said.

"We will continue to refine and improve our policies and tools as part of our commitment to help protect the integrity of elections in Taiwan and around the world," Harbath said in the post.

Facebook launched transparency tools covering political and issue ads in the U.S. in May 2018 before extending them to the U.K. and India later that year and other countries earlier this year.

(By Jeffery Wu and Joseph Yeh)


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