Google: Political ads must disclose use of AI

  • By Siona McCollum
  • Technology Journalist

image source, Getty Images

Google will soon have to tell people when political ads on its platform are created using artificial intelligence (AI).

A Google spokesperson told the BBC, “These rules are in response to the growing proliferation of tools that create synthetic content.”

The change will take place in November, about a year before the next US presidential election.

There are fears that AI will further charge misinformation around campaigns.

Google’s existing advertising policies already prohibit manipulating digital media to deceive or mislead people about politics, social issues or matters of public concern.

But the update requires election-related ads to “prominently disclose” if they contain “synthetic content” depicting real or realistic-looking people or events.

Labels suggested by Google such as “This image does not represent a real event” or “This video content is artificially generated” will act as flags.

Per the tech giant’s advertising policy, demonstrably false claims that could undermine trust in the election process are also prohibited on Google.

Google is required to disclose who paid for political ads and provides information about the messages available in its online ad library.

Disclosure of digitally altered text in election advertisements must be “clear and conspicuous” and placed where it is likely to be noticed.

Examples of what the label warrants include synthetic imagery or audio that doesn’t show a person saying or doing something they didn’t do, or an event that happened.

Also in March, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy circulated a deepfake video talking about surrendering to Russia.

video caption,

WATCH: The BBC’s James Clayton puts Deepfake video detectors to the test

In June, a Ron DeSantis campaign video attacking former President Trump contained images that showed signs of being created using AI.

The video, shared on Twitter, contains photos that have been altered to show Mr Trump kissing Anthony Fauci, a key member of the US coronavirus task force, and hugging him on the cheek.

AI experts have told the BBC that while fake images are nothing new, the speed of progress in the field of generative AI and the potential for abuse are cause for concern.

Google said it is investing in technology to detect and remove such content.

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