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Google won’t run political ads in 2019 election

Briefs | 03/05/2019 4:01 pm EDT

Alphabet Inc.’s search giant Google plans to ban political advertising from its platforms during the next federal election campaign in Canada, following the introduction of tougher political advertising transparency rules by the Liberal government.

Bill C-76, which received Royal Assent on Dec. 13, created new rules requiring online advertisers to set up a registry of partisan and election-related ad messages that run during an election — including the writ period and a pre-election period starting on June 30.

“For the duration of the 2019 federal election campaign, Google will not accept advertising regulated by Bill C-76,” Google Canada’s head of public policy Colin McKay said in a statement shared with media. “We’re focusing our efforts on supporting Canadian news literacy programs and connecting people to useful and relevant election-related information.”

The Globe and Mail reported the news Monday, noting services such as search and YouTube will still be available for users during the election.

It comes just four months before the time period when Google would run up against the new rules, unless the projected election date changes.

A Canadian representative of the social media giant Facebook Inc. recently confirmed to the Wire Report that it will meet all the new legal obligations for political ads, after remarking at a public speaking event that setting up the registry would be an arduous process nonetheless.

Facebook’s Canadian head of public policy Kevin Chan said at a panel event that it would be a “long slog between now and June 30th to get it up and running.”

“This is a significant thing to try to build,” he said. “It requires a lot of engineering and product expertise, and it takes time.”


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