As the political landscape gears up for the upcoming US presidential election, significant discourse has unfolded regarding advertising on prominent platforms. X (formerly known as Twitter) and Google, two major players in the digital realm, have emerged as central figures in shaping modern political advertising. In this blog, we’ll go over the latest changes to political advertising online.
Political Advertising on X… Again?
X has decided to end its prohibition on political advertising in the United States. The platform, now owned by Elon Musk, had initially implemented the ban in 2019 during Jack Dorsey’s tenure as CEO. Dorsey had justified the ban by stating, “This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle. It’s worth stepping back in order to address.”
Less than a year into Musk’s leadership, the decision has been reversed in line with his “commitment to free speech.” The reversal follows X’s earlier announcement in January, where the platform hinted at a potential policy shift by relaxing restrictions on cause-based ads in the US. It’s noteworthy that this policy adjustment is taking place just over a year before the upcoming US Presidential election.
Google’s Mandatory AI Content Disclosure
In an effort to improve the trustworthiness of information online, Google is set to mandate the disclosure of AI-generated images, videos, and audio in political ads. Starting from November, political advertisements must prominently include a disclaimer if “synthetic content” is utilized to depict lifelike people or events. Such distinctive labels include but are not limited to the following:
- “This image does not depict real events.”
- “This video content was synthetically generated.”
- “This audio was computer-generated.”
Failure to comply with these guidelines could lead to the public disclosure of information about the account and political ads, either to the public or to pertinent government agencies and regulators.
Why We Care
If your organization is running a political campaign, the re-introduction of ads on X and AI content disclosures on Google have the potential to bring positive impact. However, if your brand is unrelated to politics, you may not want your business’s offerings associated with platforms that disseminate political messages contrary to your business’s principles and values. If you need help determining the strategic focus of your ad campaigns, reach out to our digital advertising team today.