Google introduced a pair of policy updates that aim to curb the spread of misinformation and profiteering of illegally obtained documents ahead of what’s likely to be a polarizing 2020 election.
Bad actors will sometimes pose as digital marketers by concealing their identities while coordinating to spread political disinformation. The so-called marketers will masquerade multiple websites that push a political agenda as actual news content and then buy ads—often appearing as news articles—that direct traffic to their sites, Google says, adding that such tactics often target consumers in key swing states.
The second update applies to publishers who profited thanks to the proliferation of illegally obtained documents—think Hillary Clinton emails—that occurred during the 2016 election. Executives within Google don’t want to appear as if they’re also profiting from illegally obtained materials and have positioned the company to take action should history repeat itself later this year. The New York Times, for instance, wouldn’t be able to monetize a news story featuring images of hacked emails from President Trump. The publication could, however, link to a website showing those emails.