Google Bans Political Ads Until the Inauguration


Google said it would not allow political ads on its platforms until after Inauguration Day because of last week’s violent uprising at the Capitol.

In a letter to advertisers on Wednesday, the company said the suspension covered any ads that referred to candidates, the election or its outcome, the upcoming presidential inauguration, the impeachment process, the Capitol riots, or planned protests about any of these subjects. There will not be exceptions for news or merchandise advertisers.

The pause will go into effect on Thursday and extend until at least Jan. 21. Google is the biggest seller of advertising on the internet. In addition to displaying advertising on its own services, such as its search engine and YouTube, it runs a powerhouse ad platform and exchange relied on by other websites and publishers. The policy change was reported earlier by Axios.

Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said at the Reuters Next conference on Wednesday that the company had made significant changes to how it handled political ads and election misinformation around the election, but he acknowledged that more work needed to be done.

“The internet, as a whole, needs to come to terms with what kind of information can spread,” Mr. Pichai said. “Definitely, there’s more to do on our side.”

Google has treated last week’s riot as a “sensitive event,” a designation it usually assigns to natural disasters or mass shootings, prohibiting advertising that seeks to take advantage of the tragedy. Google applied this policy for a month after the election and prohibited political ads to help prevent the spread of misinformation through advertising. Last week, in the immediate aftermath of the riot, Google initially stopped accepting ads that referred to the event.

After the polls closed on Nov. 3, Facebook also placed restrictions on political ads in the United States in an attempt to minimize the spread of election-related misinformation.