Google will begin allowing advertisers to run advertisements that address coronavirus, or COVID-19. Axios reported Thursday, citing Google documents.
The tech giant will begin phasing in the advertisements after previously banning such content, according to a memo Google’s Head of Industry Mark Beatty gave to political advertising clients. Google will prioritize medical practitioners and groups that work directly with the virus, the memo noted.
Google will allow ads from “government entities, hospitals, medical providers, and NGOs who want to get relevant information out to the public,” according to the memo.
Google confirmed the report to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The memo explained that the ban was initially intended to stamp down on misinformation and prevent people from capitalizing on a short-term tragedy.
“However, coronavirus has become an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation, including a relevant topic in political discourse and for many advertisers in different sectors,” the memo added.
“This policy was designed to protect users and block ads that try to capitalize on short-term events like natural disasters. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we’ve been adjusting our enforcement to ensure that we are protecting users while prioritizing critical information,” Google spokeswoman Charlotte Smith said in a statement to the DCNF.
The company previously banned such content amid fears that advertisers would plaster misinformation about the virus across the platform. Other advertisers, including political organizations, will also be permitted to run ads within the next month related to the virus, the memo noted.
Meanwhile, Democrats are quietly putting together ad space across Facebook targeting President Donald Trump’s handling of the virus, which originated in China and has killed tens of thousands of people worldwide. Two left-leaning super pacs — Pacronym and American Bridge 21st Century — are currently plastering ads across social media flaying the president’s response.
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