REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
In search of transparency.
KEEPING IT CLEAN

After Facebook, Google will now vet political ads ahead of India’s elections

By Aria Thaker

Over a month after Facebook said it would launch a digital library of political advertisements in India, Google has announced it will do the same. The tech giants seem to be seeking tighter control over political advertising on their respective platforms as India approaches its next general election, expected this spring.

Google claimed the India-based ad database, as well as a report on political advertising transparency, would go live in March, The Economic Times reported. The database will provide information on who is purchasing election advertisements on Google’s platforms, and how much money they are spending.

The Mountain View-based behemoth will also start verifying political advertisers in a more stringent fashion starting Feb. 14, requiring them to submit a “pre-certificate” issued by the election commission of India (ECI), or any ECI-authorised actor, to receive approval for any political ad content.

Facebook had also announced that it would be tightening its verification process for political advertising in India, as it has in other countries, including the US. Investigative reports by The Atlantic and Vice in the US, however, have shown that surrogate buyers can be used to game the system fairly easily.