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Google shares its concerns regarding tougher rules for political advertising in the EU

Political content and advertising on social media and other online platforms has always been a tricky problem for Google, Meta, and Twitter, especially close to major elections. In the past, these companies have imposed various restrictions in this space. Now that European Union (EU) lawmakers are discussing tougher rules for political advertising, Google has shared some concerns regarding how the laws should be drafted so they don't negatively impact any party unfairly.

A Google logo on an EU flag in the background

Google has shared five concerns in total. The first one deals with clearly defining a political ad. The firm says that vague definitions of the topic could lead to YouTube content being shared by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or climate change content from advertisers being unfairly classified as a political ad.

Secondly, when it comes to transparency regarding what constitutes a political ad, there must be a good faith agreement between a platform and an advertiser with the latter making that classification when needed. The platform owner should not be required to validate the information provided by an advertiser.

The third concern is that the new laws should not make political advertising impossible. Google has emphasized that political ads are a necessary component of democratic elections as they raise awareness among voters.

Similarly, if users are given control over challenging and subsequently removing any political ad served to them, malicious actors could abuse this system to remove ads from a particular political faction. As such, the system needs to be robust to counter abusive behavior.

Lastly, Google has requested lawmakers to consider the impact on recommendation systems on platforms like YouTube where political discourse is meant to be a healthy activity. If political content is restricted from recommendation systems altogether, this could lead to reduced access to potentially useful information.

All in all, Google believes that clear regulation regarding political advertising and content on digital platforms is the right way to go. It says that it is looking forward to working with lawmakers in this regard in order to ensure that a balanced system that promotes healthy political discourse prevails.

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