Alphabet Inc.’s Google said Wednesday it plans to stop allowing highly targeted political ads on its platform, further fragmenting the rules being set by Silicon Valley tech giants for guarding against misinformation.
Google will roll out the ban within a week in the U.K., in advance of a Dec. 12 general election. The ban will take effect in the European Union by the end of the year and in the rest of the world on Jan. 6, the company said in a blog post.
Under the new policy, political ads can only be targeted based on users’ age, gender, and location at the postal-code level. Political advertisers will also still be able to display ads based on the content of the page a user is viewing.
Advertisers would no longer be able to target political ads based on users’ interests inferred from browsing or search history.
So-called microtargeting, in which advertisers can limit their messaging to narrow slices of people based on their personal preferences or online behavior, has been criticized as enabling campaigns to single out groups susceptible to misinformation.