Google will disallow political adverts ahead of federal elections in Canada this year.
The Canadian government passed a bill that would have been too difficult for Google to comply with. In December 2018, the government made a law that would demand all online platforms to keep a record of all direct or indirect political adverts during the election season.
In the wake of Facebook still dealing with allegations of meddling in the last US elections, tech giants are being more careful in addressing election and content integrity issues.
Google says it is currently working on its own election “integrity and transparency” measures.
However, there was an interesting case on the night before Nigeria’s very crucial presidential elections on February 23rd, 2019.
Social media went agog after a search on Google showed that the Nigerian naira had appreciated to 184 naira to a dollar. This was a major political glitch as the false news item began to gain a lot of attention.
This was most probably a piece of false news that could have impacted the outcome of the elections. A WhatsApp broadcast message followed, alleging some Chinese meddling that had helped the naira gain some ground.
This news was the reason some people believed the economy had gained ground during the incumbent administration thereby influencing their political decisions on the day of the election. Google Africa later revealed a statement on the erroneous information.
We’re aware of an issue causing inaccurate conversions for Nigerian Naira currency, so we will remove the conversion box from appearing in search results until we are able to diagnose the issue.
— Google in Africa (@googleafrica) February 22, 2019
Canada is scheduled to hold its federal elections in October 2019. Google would have compliance issues because its advertising platform runs on a lightning fast, automated auction system so it might not know what ad is being shown per time.
So, it has decided to opt out of the political ad campaign for the Canadian 2019 elections altogether.
Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg disclosed that he considered this move too but decided against it because he thought it was more important to use the platform to get people to air their political opinions. He also recently indicated that Facebook did consider removing political ads altogether.