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Photo illustration: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Google will begin to allow some advertisers to run ads across its platforms that address the coronavirus, according to a Google memo sent to clients and obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats have argued that in banning attack ads targeting President Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, including on YouTube, Google was shielding his campaign in a critical election year.

  • The broad ban had also stopped consumer advertisers, like retail and packaged goods companies, as well as corporate social responsibility advertisers like nonprofits, from running messaging about the virus.

Details: According to the memo, sent from Google's Head of Industry Mark Beatty to political advertising clients, Google is beginning to phase in advertisers who want to run ads related to COVID-19, prioritizing those advertisers that are working directly on this issue.

  • This week, Google will begin allowing ads from "government entities, hospitals, medical providers, and NGOs who want to get relevant information out to the public," according to the memo.

The big picture: Google had previously banned ads related to the virus in fear that some people would take advantage of the situation and use Google's self-serve ad platform to buy ads promoting things like fake coronavirus tests or hoarded supplies of hand sanitizer.

  • The policy previously placed ads related to the coronavirus under the company's "Sensitive Events" policy, which is designed to block ads that take advantage of users by capitalizing on short-term events like natural disasters.

What's next: Google says that it's planning to allow other advertisers, including political organizations, to run ads related to the coronavirus, and will make an announcement about that in the next few days.

  • Sources say that in the coming days, Google also plans to address how it will phase in other advertisers, like consumer brands, to allow those groups to also buy ads that reference the coronavirus and related terms.

Go deeper

11 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

11 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 11 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."