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Google will soon require that political ads using artificial intelligence be accompanied by a prominent disclosure if imagery or sounds have been synthetically altered.
AI-generated election ads on YouTube and other Google platforms that alter people or events must include a clear disclaimer located somewhere that users are likely to notice, the company said in an update to its political content policy.
The new rule starts in mid-November, just under a year before the U.S. presidential election. It will also affect campaign ads ahead of next year’s elections in India, South Africa, the European Union and other regions where Google already has a verification process for election advertisers.
Though fake images, videos or audio clips are not new to political advertising, generative AI tools are making it easier to do, and more realistic. Some presidential campaigns in the 2024 race — including that of Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis — already are using the technology.
The Republican National Committee in April released an entirely AI-generated ad meant to show the future of the United States if President Joe Biden is reelected. It employed fake but realistic photos showing boarded-up storefronts, armored military patrols in the streets, and waves of immigrants creating panic.
Google is not banning AI outright in political advertising. Exceptions to the ban include synthetic content altered or generated in a way that’s inconsequential to the claims made in the ad. AI can also be used in editing techniques like image resizing, cropping, color, defect correction, or background edits.
The ban will apply to election ads on Google’s own platforms, particularly YouTube, as well as third-party websites that are part of Google’s ad display network.
Google’s action could put some pressure on other platforms to follow its lead. Facebook and Instagram parent Meta doesn’t have a rule specific to AI-generated political ads but already restricts “faked, manipulated or transformed” audio and imagery used for misinformation. TikTok doesn’t allow any political ads. X, formerly Twitter, didn’t immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.