With the Lok Sabha elections 2019 round the corner, Google has announced an updated election ads policy to provide comprehensive information about who is buying election ads on its platforms and how much money is being spent on them. The updated Google election ads policy aims to bring more transparency to political ad-spends.

Chetan Krishnaswamy, Director Public Policy, Google India, said the search engine giant would introduce an India-specific Political Advertising Transparency Report and searchable Political Ads Library, which would go live in March 2019.

The updated election ads policy for India requires advertisers running election ads to provide a “pre-certificate issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI), or anyone authorized by the ECI,” for each ad, according to a Google India Blog post by Krishnaswamy.

Google would verify the identity of the advertisers before running the ads on its platforms, read the post.

The advertiser verification process will begin on 14 February 2019.

The election ads on Google platforms will also disclose who has paid for them.

“In 2019, more than 850 million Indians are expected to cast their vote to elect the country’s next government. To support the democratic process, Google is bringing more openness to election advertising online, and helping connect people to useful and relevant election-related information,” said the blog post.

For the Lok Sabha Election 2019, Google India said, it would will make electoral information from the ECI and other authoritative sources easily discoverable on search.

“We’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes in India and around the world. Today’s updates are a step forward in this direction, and we will continue to invest in initiatives that build further on our commitment towards election transparency,” said  Krishnaswamy.