Google will lift post-election political ad ban on Dec. 10

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Alphabet Inc’s Google will lift its temporary ban on election-related advertisements on Dec. 10, it said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: After the company announced it would extend its coronavirus work-from-home order until summer 2021, a Google sign is shown at one of the company's office complexes in Irvine, California, U.S., July 27, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Google’s pause of election ads, which came into effect after polls closed in the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3, was one of its measures to combat misinformation and other abuses on its site.

It was part of its “sensitive events” policy, which seeks to prohibit content that potentially capitalizes on events like public health emergencies or natural disasters.

The company said in an email to advertisers seen by Reuters that “we no longer consider the post-election period to be a sensitive event.”

Major online platforms have been under pressure to police misinformation about the election on their sites, which continued to proliferate on social media after Election Day.

“We will still rigorously enforce our ads policies, which strictly prohibit demonstrably false information that could significantly undermine trust in elections or the democratic process, among other forms of abuse,” Google said in a statement on Wednesday.

When Google announced the ban to advertisers in September, a spokeswoman said it would be in place for a minimum of a week and that factors such as whether there was civil unrest would impact when it was lifted.

Facebook Inc, which introduced a temporary ban on political and issue ads, said in November its post-election pause on political ads would likely last another month. Facebook did not immediately reply to a Reuters question on when it would lift its ban.

The extensions of the ad pauses raised concerns from campaigns and groups eager to reach voters for key Georgia races in January that will decide control of the Senate.

Google’s ban applied to election-related ads on its ad-serving platforms, including its video-streaming service YouTube and Google Ads.

Twitter Inc banned political ads last year.

Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Chris Reese