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Photo: NurPhoto / Contributor

Google announced Wednesday it is making changes to its political ads policy to restrict audience targeting for verified political advertisers globally. It's also expanding the scope of its U.S. political ads policy and clarifying its existing rules on misleading content and political ads.

Why it matters: The announcement comes a few weeks after Twitter announced it would be banning political ads. Facebook VP of Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson told Axios Monday that the company is still considering changes to its ads policy and nothing, including changes to ads targeting, is off the table.

"Given recent concerns and debates about political advertising, and the importance of shared trust in the democratic process, we want to improve voters' confidence in the political ads they may see on our ad platforms."
— Google in a statement

Details: The company is making three key changes to its political ads policy:

  1. It's limiting election audience targeting to only a few categories, including age, gender and general location (postal code level). Political advertisers can continue to do contextual advertising targeting, like targeting content with an ad based on a certain subject, like climate change.
  2. It says it's clarifying its ads policies by more explicitly outlining what's prohibited, such as banning deepfakes, misleading claims about the census process, and ads that make "demonstrably" false claims or "that undermine participation our trust in an electoral or democratic process."
  3. It's expanding its political ads library to show U.S. state-level candidates and officeholders, ballot measures and ads that mention federal or state political parties.

Between the lines: Google says it doesn't allow microtargeting for political ads currently, but that these changes limit personalized ad targeting overall.

What's next: Google says it will begin enforcing its new policy in the U.K. within a week, ahead of the country's General Election, and in the EU by the end of the year. It will begin enforcing the policy in the rest of the world starting on Jan. 6, 2020. 

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Twitter sues Texas AG Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at February's Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Twitter on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), saying that his office launched an investigation into the social media giant because it banned former President Trump from its platform.

Driving the news: Twitter is seeking to halt an investigation launched by Paxton into moderation practices by Big Tech firms including Twitter for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President," days after they banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

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Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.