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Google will verify the identities of people placing political adverts through its services around the time of the European Parliament elections in May 2019

The new vetting steps for political adverts come as large technology businesses including Google and Facebook have come under criticism for their role in allowing Russian election meddling and fake news stories to spread online.

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The Financial Times reported that the search engine will verify the identity and nationality of people paying to promote candidates who hope to become members of the European Parliament next year.

The new vetting steps for political adverts come as large technology businesses including Google and Facebook have come under criticism for their role in allowing Russian election meddling and fake news stories to spread online.


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Google previously launched a vetting procedure for political ads placed around the time of the midterm elections in the US. The scheme to vet the European Parliament elections is the first time that Google has used the system outside of the US.


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A public database of political adverts will be maintained by Google which will allow people to view the online adverts, as well as information on who paid for them, the amount spent, and how many people they reached.


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Facebook has developed a similar vetting system for online political ads but delayed its planned launch after problems with the scheme were exposed.

Publications including Vice News and Business Insider were able to place political adverts which included false information about who had paid for the ads. False backers including “Islamic State” and “Cambridge Analytica” were approved by Facebook’s vetting system.

View photos.“We have learnt that some people may try to game the disclaimer system by entering inaccurate details and have been working to improve our review process to detect and prevent this kind of abuse,” a Facebook spokesman said.



 

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“Once we have strengthened our process for ensuring the accuracy of disclaimers, we will be introducing enforcement systems to identify political advertisers and require them to go through the authorisation process,” he added.

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