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Election ads using 'digitally altered' content must be disclosed, says Google

Advertisers must select a checkbox labelled 'altered or synthetic content' when setting up their campaigns.

Search giant Google has announced a new rule for its ads. Advertisers now need to disclose if their election ads use edited images, videos, or audio to show people or events that look real.

Under the new rules, advertisers must select a checkbox labelled "altered or synthetic content" when creating their political ads.

This move is part of their ongoing effort to curb election misinformation.

“We believe that users should have information to make informed decisions when viewing election ads that contain synthetic content that has been digitally altered or generated. Accordingly, verified election advertisers in regions where verification is required must prominently disclose when their ads contain synthetic content that inauthentically depicts real or realistic-looking people or events,” Google said.

The company says this information must be easy to see and placed where users will notice it. It adds that ads with synthetic content that do not change the main message of the ad do not need to follow these new rules.

“This includes editing techniques such as image resizing, cropping, colour or brightening corrections, defect correction (for example, “red eye” removal), or background edits that do not create realistic depictions of actual events,” Google said.

In 2023, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, introduced a similar rule. Advertisers were asked to reveal if they use AI or other digital tools to change or create political, social, or election-related content on Facebook and Instagram.

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