According to Google, political advertisements will soon be required to prominently disclose the use of AI content.
Scheduled to go into effect in November, the new rule applies to political adverts on both Google and YouTube. Political advertisers will have to provide clear and conspicuous disclaimers for the use of AI to generate any form of content, be it audio, video, or images.
Given the growing prevalence of tools that produce synthetic content, we’re expanding our policies a step further to require advertisers to disclose when their election ads include material that’s been digitally altered or generated.A Google spokesperson
Google Policy Change to Affect the 2024 Presidential Election Campaigns
The timing of the policy change is definitely worth noting – it comes just under a year before the US presidential election in 2024. The campaign season is already here, as are political advertisements with AI content.
The policy change would also affect campaign adverts in a number of countries that have major elections next year, including the European Union, South Africa, and India. While fake videos, audio, and images have been used in political campaigns for a long time, generative AI is definitely making it a lot easier.
AI-generated content has already been spotted in several electoral campaigns for the 2024 presidential election, especially those of Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis.
A video posted on X as a part of his presidential campaign in June included images showing ex-President Donald Trump hugging Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist at the time.
Meant to criticize Trump for not firing Dr. Fauci, the fake images were quite hard to detect. They were displayed alongside actual photos of the two of them together, along with a text overlay that read “Real life Donald Trump.”
In addition to Google’s own platforms, the new rule will also apply to third-party websites that are a part of the tech giant’s ad display network.
In April, the Republican National Committee published a 30-second video in response to President Joe Biden’s official campaign.
The advert, which used AI-generated images to portray a dystopian look of the country after Biden’s re-election, had a small on-screen disclaimer reading, “Built entirely with AI imagery.”
However, a lot of people admitted that they did not notice the disclaimer the first time they watched the video, something that is ghastly concerning.
It’s worth noting that the rule won’t apply to synthetic content generated or edited in a way that has no real consequence on the claims made in the ad.
This means artificial intelligence can still be used for purposes like cropping, resizing, background edits, and color and defect correction without the need for a disclaimer.
Rising Concerns Over the Use of AI in Political Advertisements
Democrat lawmaker Yvette Clarker on Tuesday introduced a bill to make it mandatory for political ads to carry disclaimers for AI-generated content.
Concerns over the use of AI in political ads are on the rise, with digital information integrity experts warning that social media platforms and regulators might not be prepared to handle the wave of misinformation that could arise from the widespread availability of AI tools.
Google’s move will likely put pressure on other ad platforms to incorporate similar regulations.
While Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta doesn’t have a specific rule regarding AI-generated political ads, it already prohibits the use of “faked, manipulated or transformed” audio and imagery that could lead to misinformation.