Google took a new decision Wednesday to increase transparency on political ads on its platform by releasing an online library of US political ads and a report on details of ad-expenditure ahead of the mid-term US elections in November this year.
Google said the addition of the political advertising report and the new Ad Library are new transparency features aimed at implementing new requirements for any advertiser purchasing election ads on Google in the US, Xinhua reported.
Under the new mechanism, political advertisers now have to provide a government-issued ID and other key information that confirms they are a US citizen or lawful permanent resident in the country.
The measures are apparently an updated response to disputes on social media networks that Russia had been involved in U.S. presidential elections in 2016, an allegation that has been rejected repeatedly by Moscow.
Google is running a searchable archive where people can find all data and details about political ads via its Search engine and YouTube, including promotions for a candidate for a federal elected office or a sitting official.
The library allows users to search who pays for the ads, the costs in deploying the advertising and how long the ads will be running, plus the number of page views.
The US tech giant has agreed to give the public and third parties direct access to the archive through Google Cloud’s BigQuery, where anyone can write code and run their own unique queries on this data set.
“Researchers, political watchdog groups and private citizens can use our data set to develop charts, graphs, tables or other visualizations of political advertising on Google Ads services,” said Michee Smith, the product lead on the company’s transparency report.
“With the Transparency Report, we hope this provides unprecedented, data-driven insights into election ads on our platform,” Google said.
With the the 2018 midterm elections approaching, Google said its new tools aim to help protect political campaigns, provide voters with accurate information, and increase transparency across its platforms.