Google has unveiled new regulations requiring political advertisers to conspicuously disclose their use of AI in campaign ads, effective this November. These rules apply to any political advertisements featuring “synthetic content” depicting realistic-looking individuals or events generated by AI.
This move comes in response to the rising prevalence of digitally manipulated political ads. Google insists that these AI-enhanced ads must include a clear and noticeable disclaimer. This disclosure requirement encompasses images, videos, and audio content and must include statements such as “This audio was computer generated” or “This image does not depict real events.” Minor adjustments, like image enhancements or background edits, are exempt from this mandate.
Google’s spokesperson, Allie Bodack, explained the decision, saying, “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.”
The rise of AI in political campaigns has already been evident this year. In April, the Republican National Committee released an attack ad featuring AI-generated images targeting President Joe Biden’s reelection bid. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also used AI-generated imagery in an attack ad, featuring Donald Trump and Anthony Fauci.
These AI-altered ads have sparked concern among lawmakers, including Representative Yvette Clarke (D-NY), who introduced a bill mandating disclosures for political ads using AI-generated content. The Federal Election Commission is also considering potential restrictions on AI’s use in election advertising.
Google’s decision aims to enhance transparency and reduce the potential for misinformation in political campaigns. It acknowledges the evolving landscape of campaign advertising, where technology can blur the lines between reality and manipulation, and seeks to ensure that voters are informed about the authenticity of the content they encounter during election seasons.