Introducing a transparency report for New Zealand’s political ads

We first launched our Transparency Report in 2010 with the goal of showing users how policy impacts access to information and informing discussions about the free flow of information online. Over the years, we’ve evolved the report, and in 2018 we added the Political Advertising on Google section.

Google’s goal has always been to support election integrity by providing transparency into the political advertising spend on our platforms, and earlier this month, we set out our support of the New Zealand General Election. We have implemented a verification process for New Zealand advertisers running election ads, effective immediately. Advertisers who want to run election ads in New Zealand must apply for verification and demonstrate their eligibility to run such ads. We also require that election ads contain a disclosure identifying who has paid for the ad. Now, we’re continuing to roll out new transparency features with the addition of the transparency report: Political Advertising on Google and Political Ad Library for New Zealand General elections.

For the first time in New Zealand, our transparency report will show who bought election ads, how much money they spent, how those ads were targeted, and the election ads themselves. Election ads in New Zealand are ads that feature a political party, candidate or current officeholder for the New Zealand Parliament; or an option up for vote, an option proponent, or a call-to-vote for an officially declared national referendum. We designed this report for anyone interested in more transparency into election ad spending on our platform—the information is searchable and downloadable so that you can easily access and sort through the data. We’re updating the report every week, so as we head into election season, anyone can see new ads that get uploaded or new advertisers that decide to run election ads on Google platforms.

Meanwhile, our new, searchable Political Ad Library includes details like which election ads had the most impressions, renderings of the election ads running on our platform, and more information about specific advertisers’ campaigns. In addition, the data from the report and Political Ad Library is publicly available on Google Cloud’s BigQuery. Using BigQuery’s API, anyone can run their own unique queries on this data set. Researchers, political watchdog groups and private citizens can use our data set to develop charts, graphs, tables or other visualizations of political advertising on Google Ads services. Together with the Transparency Report, we hope this provides unprecedented, data-driven insights into election ads on our platform.

Even with these transparency updates, we know there is still more work to be done to protect elections. We’re also continuing to share our Protect Your Election tools to safeguard campaigns from digital attacks. As we approach the 2020 General Election, we’ve introduced new tools to help protect political campaigns, provide voters with accurate information, and increase transparency on our platforms, and we’ll continue to do more.

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