Google has banned political ads on all its platforms through at least Jan. 21, the latest effort by technology companies to moderate political content after Trump supporters mobilized online to attack the U.S. Capitol last week.
The ban, which Alphabet Inc.’s Google announced to advertisers Wednesday in an email viewed by The Wall Street Journal, takes effect Thursday and will last at least through the day after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration—when law enforcement has warned that some groups are planning violent actions.
Google’s move bans any ads referencing impeachment, the inauguration or U.S. Capitol protests. It pertains to ads on both Google’s search and YouTube platforms and to those on third-party sites that are purchased using Google software.
“We regularly pause ads over unpredictable, ‘sensitive’ events when ads can be used to exploit the event or amplify misleading information,” a Google spokeswoman said.
She cited the digital-ad giant’s policy of blocking content that “incites violence or promotes hate.” Google has disallowed any ads related to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol under its “sensitive event” policy.
No exceptions will be made to the ad ban, not even for news organizations or merchandise vendors, Google told advertisers in its email. The move echoes the company’s previous ban political ads following the Nov. 3 election, which it lifted roughly a month later.
“As with our prior political ad pause, we will carefully examine a number of factors before deciding to lift this policy for advertisers and share updates as we have them,” the email said.
Other technology companies have moved to tamp down speech deemed at risk of inciting further violence.
Twitter Inc. suspended President Trump’s account permanently, while Facebook Inc. did the same at least through the end of his term and removed content mentioning “Stop the Steal,” his followers’ slogan backing efforts to overturn the election. YouTube suspended Mr. Trump’s account on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, Airbnb Inc. said it would cancel and block all reservations in Washington, D.C., during the week of the inauguration.