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Google will soon let you see who’s responsible for every ad

In 2018, Google required political groups running election ads to confirm and disclose their identity. That verification policy is soon coming to all Google ads with users eventually being able to learn about advertisers right in Search.

Over the past two years, Google has verified political advertisers in 30 countries and displayed that identity right in the ad box or banner. To “provide greater transparency and equip users with more information about who is advertising to them,” the company is requiring all advertisers to confirm their identity.

As part of this initiative, advertisers will be required to complete a verification program in order to buy ads on our network. Advertisers will need to submit personal identification, business incorporation documents or other information that proves who they are and the country in which they operate.

In practice, users can open the dropdown menu on ads that appear above Search results to learn “About the advertiser.” This loads a box that names the company behind an advertisement and where they are located.

There will also be a link to learn more and a setting on whether to “Show ads” from them in the future. It will join the existing “Why this ad?” option, while Google has yet to show how this interface will work on ads that appear on third-party sites and applications.

Google says this will “help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves.” This process is starting in the US before expanding globally, and “take a few years to complete.” It will work with partners to “scale the program,” with ad disclosures starting to appear this summer.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: