Google to cease political ads in Brazil ahead of 2024 electoral resolutions

This decision aligns with the implementation of electoral resolutions for the 2024 elections, which, among other measures, prohibit companies from offering content promotion services for ads that are notably false or severely misleading.

Buisinessman holding google logo

Google announced that it will update its policies to stop allowing political ads in Brazil through Google Ads, including YouTube, to display alongside search results and other types of advertisements contracted through the company’s tool. This update, set to take effect in May, aligns with the implementation of electoral resolutions for 2024.

One notable development is the resolution passed by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) in late February, which requires establishing ad libraries and repositories for political and electoral content on platforms for real-time monitoring. This resolution also bars companies from providing content promotion services for ads that are notably false or severely misleading, thus posing a potential threat to the integrity of the electoral process.

In this regard, the resolution states that when such content has been promoted ‘irregularly,’ the Electoral Court may require platforms to disseminate, ‘through promotion and at no cost,’ informative content that clarifies notably false information ‘in the same manner and scope of the original promotion.’ Such measures are to be enforced continuously, even in non-election years and pre and post-election periods.

In 2022, Google introduced Brazil to its transparency reports on political ads across its platforms, initially focusing on federal-level candidates and later expanding to include state-level candidates. However, with the new TSE resolution, the scope broadens to include elected officials, candidates, government proposals, legislative projects, voting rights, and other political matters.

Why does it matter?

The TSE resolutions represent concrete measures against a long-standing concern in Brazil regarding the role of social media platforms in the country’s political landscape. While Google appears willing to comply with government measures, not all platforms share this stance, particularly X. Tensions peaked recently when Elon Musk engaged directly in a dispute with Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who is investigating digital misinformation and an alleged coup attempt during former President Jair Bolsonaro’s tenure. Musk claimed that Moraes’s decision to block specific accounts was unconstitutional.