AI and Politics: Google’s Measures to Ensure Authenticity in Campaign Ads

John Deer Jeje Laye
9,067 views 5 mins 0 Comments
AI and Politics: Google’s Measures to Ensure Authenticity in Campaign Ads

In a world increasingly dominated by digital content, the line between reality and fabrication can sometimes blur. Google, one of the world’s leading tech giants, has taken a significant step to ensure that this line remains clear, especially in the realm of political advertising.


  1. Google’s new mandate requires advertisers to be transparent about digital manipulations in campaign ads.
  2. The policy is timed strategically ahead of the 2024 US elections and an influential AI forum in Washington.
  3. The ubiquity and advancements in AI have raised alarms about its potential misuse in shaping political narratives.
  4. Google’s past endeavors to combat misinformation include user-reporting tools and measures to counter “fake news”.
  5. Other digital platforms, like Facebook and X, have their unique stances and challenges regarding manipulated media and political advertising.

Starting from mid-November, Google has mandated that advertisers must provide clear disclosures if their campaign advertisements have undergone digital manipulation. This means that any ad that portrays someone saying or doing something they didn’t, or if footage is altered to show events that never transpired, must be accompanied by a clear declaration of these changes.

This decision by Google is not just a random act of corporate responsibility. It is a calculated move, keeping in view the upcoming 2024 US presidential and congressional elections. The timing is also noteworthy, given that a congregation of tech industry leaders is on the horizon. This assembly, featuring personalities like Google’s Sundar Pichai, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, and other tech moguls such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, will attend an AI-focused forum in Washington. Spearheaded by Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, this forum is anticipated to be a cornerstone for future legislation concerning artificial intelligence.

The rapid evolution and accessibility of AI technology have sown seeds of concern among political analysts and tech experts alike. A telling example of this was when an ad, endorsing Florida governor Ron DeSantis, leveraged AI to emulate former president Donald Trump’s distinctive voice. With AI models like ChatGPT becoming more mainstream, the creation of hyper-realistic fake videos and images has never been easier.

Mandiant, a cybersecurity subsidiary of Google, has been closely monitoring the digital landscape. Their findings indicate a surge in the deployment of AI for disseminating misleading information online. However, they were quick to add a silver lining, noting that the overarching impact of such campaigns remains contained, at least for now. Their investigations have unearthed campaigns that have potential ties to global players, including Russia and China.

Google’s tryst with misinformation is not new. Over the years, the tech behemoth has been at the receiving end of criticism for the spread of misinformation through its flagship platforms, notably its search engine and the video-sharing platform, YouTube. In a bid to counteract this, Google, back in 2017, rolled out user-centric tools designed to combat the proliferation of “fake news”. Users could now actively report content they deemed misleading. This move was further bolstered in June when the European Union issued directives to digital platforms, including Google and Meta, urging them to intensify their fight against digital misinformation. This included the addition of labels to content birthed by AI.

Facebook, another titan in the digital arena, has also been proactive. In 2020, they revamped their policy to outlaw media that showcased evident signs of digital tampering, including the now-infamous “deepfakes”. However, a glaring omission in their policy framework is the absence of guidelines for AI-generated political advertisements. In a contrasting move, X (formerly Twitter) made headlines when it decided to roll back its ban on all political advertisements, a policy that had been steadfast since 2019. This decision has ignited concerns about the potential floodgates of misinformation it might open in the lead-up to the 2024 elections.

The Federal Election Commission, a key player in this narrative, has maintained a stoic silence, choosing not to comment on Google’s latest policy overhaul.