Bing announced changes to its policies for political advertising on Friday. The engine plans to disallow U.S. and ballot measure ads. The changes will impact any U.S. candidate or political organization running advertising campaigns across Bing’s advertising network.
While the ads make up a “very small" percentage of advertising volume, the ending will no longer accept any new ads in this space and will be working in the coming weeks to remove any ads that are already running, according to Kya Sainsbury-Carter, vice president of global partner services and advertising sales at Microsoft.
“We understand the importance in the democratic process for campaigns to be able to debate issues and put forward candidates in a way that is informative to voters,” she wrote. “Across the company, Microsoft works in non-partisan ways to serve campaigns, campaign committees, party conventions and election systems in a variety of ways.”
Bing also has disallowed advertising related to any area of questionable legality, dating, defamatory or slanderous content, hate speech, peer-to-peer file sharing, sensitive advertising, suffering and violence, tax collection, and unregulated user-generated content.
Search engines and social media sites have faced scrutiny in the past few years from the U.S. government and consumers -- from Russian scandals to bias -- based on an inability to vet the type of organization or person buying political ads to run across their network of sites.
Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter also changed their political ad policies earlier this year. Google added a verification process for anyone purchasing an election-related ad on Google in the United States. The company also initiated a Transparency Report that includes ads related to elections or issues that feature federal candidates or officeholders.
The Transparency Report shows how much verified advertisers spend to run ads across Google’s network and its network of partners. Anyone can search for information by location, top advertiser, keywords and more.
For example, since May 31, 2018, advertisers have spent $232,000 on the keywords “beto o rourke,” $129,800 on “rick scott,” $52,400 on “josh hawley,” $51,900 on “aclu,” and $49,700 on the keywords “ted cruz.”