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Google reportedly mulling changes to political ads policy

The discussions come as Facebook and Twitter follow different paths on the issue.

Google headquarters in Mountain View, California
Google is reportedly holding internal meetings over changes to its policy on political ads.
Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google is in talks over making changes to its political ads policy, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The reported discussions come as social media giants Facebook and Twitter take different tacks on the issue.

Google has been holding internal meetings on possible changes to the policy and is expected to share more information with its employees as soon as this week, sources told the Journal. The changes could be related to audience targeting, employees told the paper.

Google's reported talks come as the debate over political messages on social media intensifies ahead of the 2020 US presidential election. Twitter said last month that it would stop selling ads concerning candidates for office, elections or political issues such as the climate crisis and immigration, with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey saying "political message reach should be earned, not bought."

Twitter's move has put pressure on Facebook to follow suit. Facebook, which lets politicians lie in ads, has been criticized for allowing the spread of misinformation.

Misinformation played a role in the 2016 presidential election, with Russians trolls purchasing Facebook ads to sow discord among Americans. Other social media companies have barred political ads; short-form video app TikTok did so to protect its light-hearted culture.

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.