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Campaigns say the Google Ad Policy bypasses the problem of disinformation

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On Thursday, two separate groups of digital strategists – a bipartisan coalition from the University of Chicago and a group of around 40 Democratic and progressive strategists – published letters criticizing Google’s new policies. The letters the New York Times received accuse Google of inappropriately addressing disinformation.

“Policy changes from Google, other platforms and regulators should focus on containing bad actors and stopping disinformation,” wrote the University of Chicago digital group. “Political changes that are intended to restrict legitimate political communication and dialogue are not the right approach for a democratic society.”

Google has guidelines to combat misinformation and published an extensive white paper on the subject in February. The policy announced on Wednesday also said Google was ready to remove fake ads, which Facebook didn’t want to do.

“We have made significant strides and over the years we have developed policies and features that enable our security teams to effectively identify malicious actors, disable their accounts, remove infringing content, warn our users about them, and provide context to content if necessary and exchange information. with other companies and law enforcement agencies, “the company said in a statement. “We remain committed to working with government, industry and civil society to continue to address this challenge in the United States and around the world.”

There are numerous examples of how difficult it is to enforce misinformation policies on such a huge platform. Political activists and campaigners have claimed that Google’s announcement is a half-hearted attempt to address the underlying issues plaguing social media political discourse, an issue that technology companies have targeted the devastating criticism of Congress, interest groups and some 2020 Democratic candidate.

A quick search on YouTube for Senator Kamala Harris, for example, reveals dozens of videos spreading the lie that Ms. Harris is not an American citizen, including some with more than 100,000 views. None of these videos are commercials.

“Tech companies have a responsibility to tackle disinformation and if their platforms are misused to promote verifiable lies, inventions and racial attacks – some of which could lead to violence – it will take more than a band-aid,” said Ian Sams, the communications director for Mrs. Harris. “This is a fundamental problem that threatens our democracy and what we have seen so far is not enough.”

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