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Google and YouTube to Require Disclosure for AI-Altered Political Ads

Updated: Jan 8

Google has announced that political advertisements using artificial intelligence (AI) to alter voice and imagery will now be required to include a prominent disclosure.

Credits: Reuters

The new policy aims to ensure transparency and inform users when AI-generated content is being used to depict real or realistic-looking people or events. The rule will come into effect in mid-November, just under a year before the U.S. presidential election and will also apply to campaign ads in other regions where Google has an election advertiser verification process.

While fake images, videos and audio clips have been used in political advertising before, generative AI tools have made it easier to create realistic content. Some presidential campaigns, including that of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have already utilised AI technology in their ads. The Republican National Committee released an entirely AI-generated ad depicting a dystopian future if President Joe Biden is reelected, featuring fake but convincing images of boarded-up storefronts and military patrols.

The Federal Election Commission has recently begun the process of potentially regulating AI-generated deepfakes in political ads ahead of the 2024 election. Deepfakes involve synthetic voices of political figures saying things they never actually said. Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, a co-sponsor of pending legislation that requires disclaimers on deceptive AI-generated political ads, commended Google's announcement as a step in the right direction but emphasised the need for more than voluntary commitments.

Google's policy does not ban the use of AI in political advertising altogether. Exceptions to the ban include synthetic content that has no impact on the claims made in the ad, as well as AI used for editing techniques such as resising, cropping, color correction and background edits. The ban will apply to election ads on Google's platforms, particularly YouTube, as well as third-party websites within Google's ad display network.

This move by Google reflects the growing concern over the potential misuse of AI in political campaigns and the need for transparency in the digital advertising landscape. By requiring disclosure, Google aims to provide users with the necessary information to make informed decisions about the content they encounter during election periods.

  • Google and YouTube will require prominent disclosure for political ads that use AI to alter voice and imagery.

  • The new policy aims to increase transparency and inform users when AI-generated content is being used.

  • The rule will come into effect in mid-November, ahead of the U.S. presidential election and will also apply to campaign ads in other regions.

Source: AP

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