The news: Google will require that political ads disclose if they were created using artificial intelligence beginning in November, the BBC reports, one year out from the 2024 US presidential election.
- Though Google already has rules banning misleading ads related to politics or social issues, political ads will be required to add “prominent” disclosures like on-screen text clarifying when an image or sound is “synthetically generated.”
Why it matters: Artificial intelligence has already been used by prominent presidential candidates to create misleading imagery, creating concern about the tech’s use to manipulate voters. Google is moving to capture a larger share of 2024 political ad spending, and will have to address those concerns to avoid possible penalties.
- Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign used AI to create at least two ads with misleading images of former president Donald Trump. One depicted Trump hugging Anthony Fauci, and another in July used AI to mimic Trump’s voice reading his tweets. While the AI voice falls under a gray area, deepfaked images are already banned by Google’s advertising rules.
- Political misinformation on digital platforms during the last two presidential elections and the pandemic have put additional scrutiny on companies like Google, pressuring them to update their rules to more thoroughly cover misinformation. Now, there’s concern about platforms’ abilities to manage a wave of AI-generated content.
- But with political spending expected to reach a historic high of $11 billion in 2024, Google loosened up its rules somewhat. In June, YouTube reversed a policy that banned content alleging fraud in the 2020 presidential election, a controversial move that followed several prominent election deniers like Robert Kennedy Jr. entering the Republican primary.
Our take: As a leading platform in the artificial intelligence race, there’s as much pressure on Google to show that it can moderate misleading, AI-generated content as there is to show that it can push the tech to new horizons.
- Stricter rules around AI-generated ads, particularly in thorny sectors like politics, are important not just for winning a greater share of political ad spending, but also for the future of the technology.