Meta, the parent company of social media giants Facebook and Instagram, has taken a firm stance on political advertisers using its generative artificial intelligence (AI) advertising tools. In an exclusive report by Reuters, a Meta spokesperson revealed that the company is not permitting political campaigns and advertisers to utilize these advanced ad creation tools.
The decision was recently reflected in an update to Meta’s help center on November 6th. In an explanatory note outlining the functionality of these AI-driven advertising tools, the company clarified its policy. Advertisers running campaigns related to specific categories, including housing, employment, credit, social issues, elections, politics, health, pharmaceuticals, or financial services, are currently restricted from using these generative AI features. This strategic move is intended to help Meta better assess potential risks and implement appropriate safeguards for the use of generative AI in ads related to sensitive topics in regulated industries.
While Meta has taken this step, its general advertising standards do not explicitly address AI. Nevertheless, the platform prohibits ads containing content debunked by its fact-checking partners.
In a similar vein, Google updated its political content policy in September, mandating that all verified election advertisers must disclose their use of AI in their campaign content. Google’s standards specifically address synthetic content that portrays real or realistic-looking individuals or events in an inauthentic manner. The guidelines stipulate that notices about AI use must be “clear and conspicuous” in places where users can readily spot them.
However, Google’s policy also includes an exemption for ads that contain synthetic content altered or generated in a manner inconsequential to the claims presented in the ad.
In the United States, regulators are actively exploring the formulation of regulations surrounding political AI deep fakes in anticipation of the upcoming 2024 election cycle. Concerns have arisen regarding the potential impact of AI on voter sentiment through the dissemination of fake news. The accessibility of AI technology has raised concerns about the proliferation of fake news and deep fakes on digital platforms.
It’s worth noting that claims have been made about political bias in AI, with allegations that certain AI chatbots, including ChatGPT, exhibit a left-leaning bias. However, these claims remain a topic of dispute within the AI community and academia. Meta’s decision to restrict the use of its AI tools for political advertising is a reflection of the growing scrutiny and regulation of AI technologies in the realm of political communication.