Google’s new political ad policy that seeks to stop campaigns from targeting very specific groups of viewers is being denounced by Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale.
“It is a removal of free speech. It is a voter suppression activity,” Parscale told Fox News.
Google recently announced a new political ad policy that takes effect Jan. 6 in the U.S., with a head start in Europe.
“While we’ve never offered granular microtargeting of election ads, we believe there’s more we can do to further promote increased visibility of election ads. That’s why we’re limiting election ads audience targeting to the following general categories: age, gender, and general location (postal code level),” Google Ads product management vice president Scott Spencer wrote in a blog post.
“[W]e’re clarifying our ads policies and adding examples to show how our policies prohibit things like ‘deep fakes’ (doctored and manipulated media), misleading claims about the census process, and ads or destinations making demonstrably false claims that could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process,” he wrote.
Parscale said that the changes are due to President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory which “freaked them out because I used a whole bunch of liberal platforms to do it.”
“I guarantee you, this decision came from another room full of people going, ‘Oh my God, we’ve got to stop them. They’re going to win again in a landslide and we can’t be part of it.’”
The changes mean that voters cannot be targeted based on political affiliations or voting record, and even whether they want to be contacted.
“It would almost be like [if] AT&T had all the lists of all the Trump supporters in America, and AT&T said, ‘Oh, you can’t dial their phones,’ I mean, it’s crazy,” Parscale said.
A group of Democratic digital operatives and strategists has also objected to the changes, claiming in a post on Medium that Democrats fare the worst.
“While, the Republican base is dominated by older, white, non-urban voters — people who can still easily be reached with the targeting Google didn’t touch: age, gender, and geography — not to mention these older voters are more likely to watch TV. In contrast, Democratic voters and supporters are more diverse, more likely to be cord-cutters, mobile phone users, and generally those who are harder to reach with traditional advertising methods,” the group wrote.
“Without using voter registration files, a Republican campaign can advertise to this homogenous group of people and expect to engage a majority of registered voters. In contrast, a Democratic campaign advertising to young, urban, people of color might have to spend a lot more because they are trying to reach a fraction of users within that group who are actually eligible to vote,” the post said.
Parscale said the big loser is not either of the two main political parties.
“I think it hurts America,” he told Fox. “These are new tech ways of stopping connections. If I went on TV right now and said, ‘The telephone companies aren’t allowing me to call people,’ all heck would break loose. Right? It’s exactly what they did. They just did it with a different connection.”
Google’s policy is very different from that of Facebook, which has said it will allow a far more wide-open environment for political advertising and not get involved in policing ad content.
“Facebook, for the moment, is a free for all. To the point where Mark Zuckerberg says it’s not going to police free speech. It has stuck to its stance, even with the idea of accepting political ads when they contain false claims,” Fox Business host Deirdre Bolton said on the Fox Business show “Mornings with Maria.”
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