Google tightens ad rules; identity verification to become mandatory for all advertisers

If existing advertisers fail to submit the required documents, Google will supend their accounts along with their ability to serve ads

Alphabet-owned Google on Thursday said that it will become mandatory for all advertisers to verify their identity before buying any advertising space on its platform. The new rules come to effect from this summer. Google's decision is in a bid to prevent advertisers from misrepresenting themselves.

Moreover, the new rules will also help customers. Users will now be allowed to see who's running the ads and the country the advertisers are located in. Tech companies have been under the scrutiny of regulators for quite some time, and the latest move by Google is in a bid to counter fake news, which has lately questioned the credibility of tech and Internet companies and has also tarnished their image to a great extent.

Google fights against fake news

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Google logo. (File Photo: IANS) IANS

Google on Thursday said in a blog post that advertisers from this summer will be required to submit personal identification and business incorporation documents to prove their identity and the country in which they operate in. The rules apply to not only new advertisers but also include the existing advertisers.

Existing advertisers will be given 30 days once they are notified to complete the verification process since the company is rolling out the process in phases. If existing advertisers fail to submit the required documents, the account of the advertiser will be suspended along with its ability to serve ads, said Google.

Until now, identity verification process was a must only for political advertisers running election ads on its platform. Verification process is also a tactic applied to identify and filter out low-quality advertisers.

New rules to bring transparency

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The Google internet homepage is displayed on a product at a store in London, Britain January 26, 2016 (Neil Hall/Reuters)

Tech and Internet companies have time and again drawn the ire of regulators, who have often questioned their privacy and ad policy. Understandably, Google's decision to come up with stricter rules is in a bid to counter fake news. The verification process will allow the company to filter out low-quality advertisers, such as the ones that tried to sell fake masks and Covid-19 treatments during the coronavirus outbreak.

Google started requiring political advertisers to verify their identity since 2018 before running election ads. This will also help customers know about the advertisers. Consumers will start seeing disclosures that will list these information once they click "Why this ad" beginning this summer. However, the verification notification will be sent to existing advertisers in phases in the United States and continue to expand globally, which could take years.

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