Google will force advertisers to prove they are who they say they are

The measure should help clamp down on scams and misinformation.

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, UNITED STATES - 2020/02/23: American multinational technology company Google logo seen at Googleplex, the corporate headquarters complex of Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Google will require all advertisers to confirm their legal identity in an effort to increase transparency. Since 2018, political advertisers have had to verify who they are, so this is an expansion of that measure.

The company will enforce the rule in the US at first, and it's likely to take a few years before the requirement rolls out worldwide. Google suggests advertisers that in certain categories may be prioritized for the verification process. Those include the promotion of "products, goods, and services" (such as retail, media, tech and travel), "informational, advisory, or educational content"(charitable causes and free financial or health advice, for instance) and ads related to regulated industries, like gambling and healthcare products.

When the requirements come into place in their locales, existing advertisers will have 30 days to submit documents or Google won't display their ads. They'll need to send business incorporation paperwork, personal ID or other documentation. Starting this summer, you'll be able to see a verified advertiser's legal name and country of operation via a context menu in ads.

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“This change will make it easier for people to understand who the advertiser is behind the ads they see from Google and help them make more informed decisions when using our advertising controls,” Google director of product management for ads integrity John Canfield wrote in a blog post. Verifying advertisers is also likely to help Google clamp down on scams and the spread of information through ads.

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