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Democratic Institutions Minister Gould to convince Google to make online ad registry

Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould wants to convince Google to change its decision on banning political ads before the upcoming federal election, and instead ask it to create an online ad registry.

She said to CBC News that Google could “ultimately” change its mind, and “we will encourage them to do so. However, that’s Google’s decision as to how they comply with the law.”

Google announced on March 4th that it was going to ban all political advertising on its platform after Canada passed Bill C-76 in December. The bill requires all online platforms to adhere to strict rules and keep a registry of political and partisan advertisements that are directly or indirectly published.

“For the duration of the 2019 federal election campaign, Google will not accept advertising regulated by Bill C-76,” Colin McKay, Google Canada’s head of public policy, said in a statement. “We’re focusing our efforts on supporting Canadian news literacy programs and connecting people to useful and relevant election-related information.”

Google, during past testimonies, has said that it would be difficult to flag advocacy content.

Gould said on March 6th that the decision was “disappointing.”

“Let’s be honest, they have significant resources, both financial and technical,” Gould said. “If they wanted to, they could definitely do this.”

She cited the time Google set up an ad registry during the U.S. midterm elections and was planning to do so for the upcoming European Union parliamentary elections.

Source: CBC, Reuters

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