Google lifts pause on political ads that started after Capitol riots

The logo of Alphabet Inc’s Google outside the company’s office in Beijing, China, August 8, 2018.

Thomas Peter | Reuters

Google will allow political ads again after a pause that began ahead of the President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January and after the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. capitol.

“Starting on Wednesday, we will be lifting our Sensitive Events policy to again allow advertisers to run political ads,” Google said in an emailed statement to CNBC. “We will continue to rigorously enforce our ads policies, which strictly prohibit demonstrably false information that could significantly undermine trust in elections or the democratic process.”

An email sent to advertisers by Google said starting Wednesday, advertisers will once again be able to run placements that are in scope of its election ads policy, which include those that mention a current state or federal officeholder or candidate, political party or ballot measure. It also includes ads that reference federal or state elections within the ad and any ads running on election-related search queries, including on candidates or officeholders. 

Google has been temporarily pausing some advertising to prevent exploitation or misinformation, it has said. When implementing a pause in January before the inauguration, Google said that it regularly pauses ads over unpredictable “sensitive” events when ads could potentially be used to exploit the event or amplify misleading information. 

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 lift of the pause was first reported by Axios. 

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