Google announced that it is not going to allow political advertising on its platform in the Philippines ahead of the 2022 national and local elections there. Due to term limits, President Rodrigo Duterte is not running for a new term.
Google said that political advertising in the Philippines will be prohibited from February 8, 2022 through March 9, 2022. Google defines political advertising as "ads that promote or oppose any political party or the candidacy of any person or party for public office."
This is not the first time that Google has paused political advertising in connection with national elections. For example, in 2019, Google prohibited political advertising in Canada. And, in 2020, Google banned election-related advertising in the United States.
In 2019, Google updated its political advertising policies. Under the updated rules, Google no longer allows political advertising to be targeted based on public voter records or general political affiliations (such as, left-leaning, right-leaning, and independent). Instead, Google limits election ads audience targeting to the following general categories: age, gender, and location. Google continues to allow contextual targeting, such as serving ads to people reading or watching a story based on a particular topic (such as, the economy). At that time, Google also clarified that it applies the same rules to political advertising that it does to all other advertising that runs on its platforms. Google said, "It’s against our policies for any advertiser to make a false claim -- whether it's a claim about the price of a chair or a claim that you can vote by text message, that election day is postponed, or that a candidate has died." Recognizing that "no one can sensibly adjudicate every political claim, counterclaim, and insinuation," it expects to take action on a "very limited" number of political ads. Google did say, however, that it will take action when there are "clear violations" of its advertising policies.