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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

Companies deploy tech to prevent retail crime

Customers in a Home Depot in Pleasanton, California, in February 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Retailers have a new edge for fighting theft: They're using technology to disable stolen goods — from iPhones to Black & Decker drills — and render them useless.

Why it matters: Organized retail crime has a considerable affect on retailers every year, costing them an average of $719,000 per $1 billion dollars in sales, according to estimates from the National Retail Federation.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
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Spotify CEO Daniel Ek does a podcast on the future of podcasts

Spotify on Wednesday reported significant ad revenue growth from its podcast business, as part of its quarterly earnings disclosure.

Take a listen: Company founder and CEO Daniel Ek appeared on the Axios Re:Cap podcast to discuss how the podcast business model is changing, why he's spending big on exclusive shows and his personal favorites in both podcasting and music.

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Bipartisan group reaches agreement on $1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure bill

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

After weeks of long nights and endless Zoom calls, a bipartisan group of senators finally reached a deal on "the major issues" in their $1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure package, GOP senators involved in the talks announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: It could be days before the group finishes writing the bill, but the Senate can begin debating the legislation in earnest now that they have resolved the outstanding issues. The bill needs 60 votes to advance in the Senate.