Google to pause political ads again ahead of Biden inauguration

Date: 2021-01-13T15:26:22+0000

Location: www.cnbc.com

An illuminated Google logo is seen inside an office building in Zurich, Switzerland December 5, 2018.

Arnd Wiegmann | Reuters

Google is suspending political ads and any reference to "impeachment, inauguration or protests at the U.S. Capitol," beginning Thursday.

"We regularly pause ads over unpredictable, 'sensitive' events when ads can be used to exploit the event or amplify misleading information," Google said in a statement Wednesday. "Beyond this, we have long-standing policies blocking content that incites violence or promotes hate and we will be extremely vigilant about enforcing on any ads that cross this line."

In an email to advertisers, Google said there would not be any carveouts in the policy for news or merchandise advertisers. While the policy is in place, advertisers will not be able to run ads referencing candidates, the election, its outcome, the Biden inauguration, the presidential impeachment process, violence at the U.S. Capitol or any future planned protests regarding those topics.

"This policy will be broadly scoped across ads running through Google Ads, DV360, YouTube, and AdX Authorized Buyer and is intended to block all ads related to the items outlined above," the email said.  

Google's statement also referred to its "longstanding Dangerous and Derogatory Content policy," which prohibits ads promoting hate or inciting violence. "Given the events of the past week, we are extremely vigilant about enforcing on any ads that might reasonably be construed as crossing this line," it said.

The email to advertisers said the company plans to keep the policy in place at least until next Thursday, a day after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.

The announcement comes the morning after Google suspended President Donald Trump's YouTube account and formally warned the White House about its use of the world's largest video platform.

Google had also implemented a temporary pause on elections-related advertising following the election, which it lifted roughly a month later in December. The company had banned those ads for a period of time in an attempt to prevent potential exploitation or misinformation via advertising since it expected delayed election results.

The pause was first reported by Axios.