Briefing

Google to ban political ads ahead of federal election, citing new transparency rules

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The decision follows the December passing of Bill C-76, which mandates fines or jail time for online platforms that do not maintain a registry of all political or partisan ads they host. Google said the definition of what ads it would need to record is too broad. Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould said the decision “appears to have been made for business reasons and does not reflect on the quality of our laws.” (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: Google has 47.7 per cent of the internet advertising market in Canada, so even if smaller players like second-place Facebook (which has 23.9 per cent) don’t follow suit, it will fundamentally alter how the fall election is fought. “This isn’t a negotiating tactic,” said Colin McKay, Google Canada’s head of public policy. The company said the registry requirement is incompatible with the way it serves ads, so minor modifications to the rules—even if it the government was so inclined—are unlikely to reverse its decision.