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Google makes AI disclosure mandatory in political campaign ads

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Google is making updates to its political content policy to include a new mandate that all verified election advertisers must disclose uses of artificial intelligence (AI) in campaign content. 

On Sep. 6 the tech giant said the disclosures are required where there is “synthetic content that inauthentically depicts real or realistic-looking people or events.” Additionally, it said these notices must be “clear and conspicuous” in places where they will be noticed by users.

“Ads that contain synthetic content altered or generated in such a way that is inconsequential to the claims made in the ad will be exempt from these disclosure requirements.”

The examples given by Google include the use of AI in the editing process like resizing, cropping, color or defect corrections or any peripheral edits that don’t “create realistic depictions of actual events.”

This updated policy will apply to image, video and audio content and will be implemented in mid-November 2023, according to the update. This comes exactly one year prior to the presidential elections in the United States, anticipated in November 2024. 

The topic of disclosures for AI-generated content has been a major topic since the prominent emergence of mass AI tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT has made it easier to create and circulate such content.

Related: Google updates service policies to comply with EU regulations

As AI continues to be pervasive in various sectors, Google, along with other major tech companies, has been ramping up its focus on AI tools and services. 

In a memo from the CEO of Google on Sep. 5, he said he has been thinking of pivoting Google to be an “AI-first company” since he joined in 2015.

On Aug. 17, Google upgraded its search engine to now include AI-powered enhancements to help streamline search functions. It also joined forces with OpenAI and Microsoft to create the ‘Frontier Model Forum’ which they intend to use to help self-regulate the development of AI from within the industry.

Google’s interest in developing AI policies has expanded to its other platforms, including YouTube, which recently released its “principles” for working with the music industry on AI-related tech.

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