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Google tightens political ad rules ahead of Europe elections

This March 23, 2010, file photo shows the Google logo at the Google headquarters in Brussels. Google said Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018 it's expanding stricter political advertising requirements to the European Union as part of efforts to curb misinformation and increase transparency ahead of the bloc's elections next year. (Virginia Mayo / AP)
This March 23, 2010, file photo shows the Google logo at the Google headquarters in Brussels. Google said Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018 it's expanding stricter political advertising requirements to the European Union as part of efforts to curb misinformation and increase transparency ahead of the bloc's elections next year. (Virginia Mayo / AP)
Associated Press

LONDON – Google said Thursday it’s expanding stricter political advertising requirements to the European Union as part of efforts to curb misinformation and increase transparency ahead of the bloc’s elections next year.

As the EU prepares for the vote, U.S. tech companies are facing pressure to do more to counter foreign influence campaigns following allegations that online platforms were used to meddle in elections in the U.S and elsewhere.

Google will require every political ad to disclose who is paying for it while also tightening up its identity verification process for ad buyers.

It will also publish a report on the transparency of EU election ads and a library of political ads that anyone can search for more information on buyers, their target audience, and how the money is spent.

It’s an extension of a system Google brought in this year for U.S. political ads. Facebook introduced a similar system of its own for the U.S., Brazil and Britain earlier this year.

“Like others, we’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes around the world, including by bringing more transparency to political advertising online,” the company’s director of EU public policy and government relations, Lie Junius, said in a blog post.

Google was among the tech companies that in September signed up to an EU code of conduct aimed at fighting online disinformation.

Hundreds of millions of people in 27 countries are set to choose 705 EU lawmakers in the vote in May.

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