Google to pause election ads after polls close on Election Day

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Pradeep Gaur | Mint | Getty Images

Google said in a letter to advertisers on Friday that it will pause election-specific ads on Nov. 3 after polls close.

“Given the likelihood of delayed election results this year, when polls close on November 3, we will pause ads referencing the 2020 election, the candidates, or its outcome,” Google told CNBC. “This is a temporary measure, and we’ll notify advertisers when this policy is lifted.”

The restrictions apply to Google Ads, DV360, YouTube and AdX Authorized Buyer, according to an email sent from Google to advertisers obtained by CNBC. The letter says Google expects “an unprecedented amount of votes will be counted after election day.”

The rules prohibit:

  • Ads that mention a current state or federal officeholder or candidate.
  • Ads that discuss a political party or ballot measure.
  • Ads that mention federal or state elections.
  • Ads running on election-related search queries. 

“We will carefully examine a number of factors before deciding to lift this policy for advertisers and share updates as we have them,” the email said.

Google said it’s expecting a “substantial increase in election ad submissions” leading up to the election. 

That, combined with our robust enforcement review processes, will lead to longer ad approval turnaround times in the weeks before the election & through Election Day,” Google said in its letter. “You should expect up to 48 hours for approvals, and we will not be able to expedite requests during that time given the volume.”

The policy was first reported by Axios. 

The ban comes after Facebook said earlier this week it will ban ads that prematurely claim an election victory before news organizations have declared a winner. In early September, Facebook said it will ban new political ads from running the week before the Nov. 3 presidential election. It will still allow those submitted before Oct. 27 to run.

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