Alphabet Inc. owned Google is planning to allow some clients including hospitals and other medical-related agencies to run advertisements (ads.) regarding the coronavirus pandemic information on its platforms. The new move of the tech giant was a change to its previous rules which banned ads around “sensitive events,” and the company has been under intense pressure to extend this facility that can be accessed by the political organizations.
Coronavirus Ads on Google
As seen by Reuters on Thursday, April 2, 2020, Google’s new policy of coronavirus ads mentioned in a memo that the company would grant permission to run ads by government entities, hospitals, medical providers, and non-governmental organizations from this week. They would be allowed to circulate relevant information on the virus pandemic to the public and the company is likely to expand this facility for the political organizations shortly.
The memo, which was sent from Google’s head of industry for elections, Mark Beatty, acknowledged, “Currently we do not allow such ads to run under our Sensitive Events policy, which is designed to protect users by blocking ads that try to capitalize on short-term events like natural disasters.” The letter added, “However, coronavirus has become an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation, including a relevant topic in political discourse and for many advertisers in different sectors.”
Google told Reuters that the lifting of the ban for some advertisers would be applied across its platforms as part of its new sensitive events policy. Nevertheless, a company spokeswoman also mentioned that Google would further evaluate whether to allow brands and private companies to run coronavirus-related ads.
Issues on Political Organizations Ads
Many Democratic strategists welcomed the policy change of Google and claimed that the reverse of a ban in ad rules would be a good judgment at these crucial hours for the election campaign for the upcoming presidential race 2020.
Mark Jablonowski, the chief technology officer and managing partner of progressive digital ad firm, DSPolitical, had previously criticized Google’s ban on political-based ads, arguing that it had only boosted President Donald Trump and Republicans. Referring to the November election, he added, “We don’t have an understanding of the timeframe yet and that’s something we’re very eager to understand, to make sure we’re not continuing to bolster Trump’s megaphone.”
In a similar note, Patrick Stevenson, the Democratic National Committee’s chief mobilization officer, claimed, “It’s obviously the right move to reverse this ban. I don’t know how Google ever thought that this was a tenable position.” He added, “This is only one of many policy choices Google has made that has benefited Trump’s re-election campaign, and we hope this is a sign that Google intends to look more critically at the role they are playing in this election.”
The Trump campaign was not available to a request for comment when Reuters approached.
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