Google's New Mandate

Google’s New Mandate: Political Ads Must Disclose AI Usage

The Dawn of a New Era in Political Advertising

We’ve all seen them—those political ads that make us question the reality of what we’re viewing. Well, Google is stepping up to add a layer of transparency to the mix. Starting this November, Google will require political ads to disclose if they’ve used artificial intelligence (AI) to create images or audio.

Why This Move Matters

This isn’t just a random policy update. It’s a response to the increasing use of AI tools that produce synthetic content. Think deepfakes and AI-generated images that can easily deceive the public. The timing is crucial too, as it’s about a year ahead of the next U.S. presidential election.

The Fear of AI in Political Campaigns

There’s a growing concern that AI could amplify disinformation in political campaigns. Imagine a world where AI-generated videos make it look like a candidate said something they never did. Scary, right?

Existing Policies and the New Update

Google isn’t entirely new to regulating political ads. They already have policies that prohibit manipulating digital media to deceive people about politics and social issues. The new update takes it a step further by requiring “prominent disclosure” of synthetic content.

What Counts as Synthetic Content?

So, what exactly will require a disclosure? Any content that depicts real or realistic-looking people or events but is generated or altered by AI. Google suggests labels like “this image does not depict real events” to serve as flags.

The Importance of Transparency

Transparency is key in any election process. Google already requires political ads to disclose who paid for them and maintains an online ads library for this information. The new rules make it mandatory for these disclosures to be “clear and conspicuous.”

Examples and Real-world Scenarios

Remember that fake image of Donald Trump being arrested? Or the deepfake video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky talking about surrendering to Russia? Both were AI-generated and could have had serious implications.

AI Experts Weigh In

AI experts have expressed concern about the rapid advancements in generative AI and its potential for misuse. While faked imagery isn’t new, the speed at which AI is progressing in this field is alarming.

Google’s Ongoing Efforts

Google isn’t stopping at this update. They continue to invest in technology to detect and remove such deceptive content. It’s a step in the right direction, but there’s still a long way to go.


The landscape of political advertising is changing, and Google’s new policy is a testament to that. As AI continues to evolve, it’s crucial for regulations to keep pace. This move by Google is a significant step toward ensuring a more transparent and trustworthy political advertising ecosystem.


  1. When will Google’s new policy take effect?
    • The new policy is scheduled to start this November.
  2. What kind of content requires disclosure?
    • Any AI-generated or altered content that depicts real or realistic-looking people or events.
  3. How does Google suggest labeling such content?
    • Labels like “this image does not depict real events” are suggested.
  4. Are there existing policies on political ads?
    • Yes, Google already has policies that ban manipulating digital media to deceive people.
  5. What are the concerns about AI in political campaigns?
    • The main concern is the potential for AI to amplify disinformation.


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