Google is updating its political content policy in regard to use of artificial intelligence.
While not prohibiting use of the technology in political ads, the revised policy will require that political ads that feature “synthetic” content, such as AI-generated visuals or sounds, disclose that in a “clear and conspicuous” manner, where it is “likely to be noticed.”
The update, which kicks in as of November, covers audio, images and video advertising across Google’s ad display network, as well as its platforms and YouTube.
Synthetic content changed in ways “inconsequential to the claims made” in an ad, such as image color correction or cropping, will be exempt from the disclosure requirement.
Examples of AI’s ability to create fake content designed to spread misinformation and smear rivals is already playing out.
In April, in response to President Joe Biden’s official announcement of his bid for reelection, the Republican National Committee released a 100% AI-generated ad (above) that used imaginary but visually convincing scenarios of a dystopian future to try to frighten U.S. citizens out of voting for Biden and his running mate, Vice President Kamala Harris.
In June, the campaign to secure the Republican presidential nomination for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis posted a video on X that experts identified as using AI-generated deepfakes. The video attacked Donald Trump by using clips edited to show Trump embracing Anthony Fauci, the former White House medical advisor who helped the U.S. navigate the COVID epidemic but has now been vilified by the right.
In July, Google, Amazon, Meta and Microsoft were among seven tech giants that voluntarily agreed to adhere to a set of AI safeguards brokered by the Biden administration to begin managing the technology’s potential for positive and negative applications.
In August, the Federal Election Commission began exploring regulating use of AI-generated deepfakes in political advertising, and agreed to seek public comment on whether federal rules prohibiting fraudulent campaign advertising should include ads that use AI. It is unclear whether the six-member commission, which is divided along political lines, will act to update those rules following the comment period, which is expected to end next month.