Feb 22, 2021 - Economy

Scoop: Google to lift political ad ban put in place following Capitol siege

Photo: Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images

Google informed its advertising partners Monday that its platforms will resume accepting all political ads starting Wednesday, after banning them following last month's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, according to an email obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: Google and rival Facebook have been instituting political ad bans on and off over the past few months to slow the spread of misinformation and curb confusion around sensitive events, like the Capitol attack and the election.

Details: Google says a limited version of its "sensitive events" policy went into effect Jan. 13 after the violent events in the Capitol on Jan. 6.

  • The ban meant that advertisers were not able to run any political ads or ads "referencing candidates, the election, its outcome, the upcoming presidential inauguration, the ongoing presidential impeachment process, violence at the U.S. Capitol, or future planned protests on these topics," according to an email sent to ad buyers last month.
  • The resumption of political ads means that the sensitive events policy put in place last month has been lifted.
  • In order to resume buying ads, advertisers will need to use the self-service appeals tool in the Google Ads portal to have their existing ads re-reviewed, the email says.
  • "If they are otherwise policy compliant, then our reviewers will approve the ad and it will be eligible to begin serving."

The big picture: Google and Facebook are the two biggest digital platforms for political ads. Their bans over the past few months have meant that more advertisers have shifted dollars to other digital platforms, like smart TVs, that don't offer the same level of transparency.

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