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Increasing transparency through advertiser identity verification

We’re committed to giving our users transparency, choice and control when it comes to the ads they see on our platforms. That’s why we’ve long offered tools like Ad Settings which allows people to control how ads are personalized or even opt out of personalized ads altogether, as well as features like Why this ad? which helps explain why a specific ad is being shown. Now, we’re working to bring additional transparency into the advertiser behind the ads people see.

In 2018, we announced a new identity verification policy for political advertisers. The policy requires all advertisers that want to run election ads on our platforms go through a verification program to confirm their identity. We display that identity in the ad unit so that users can learn more about the election ads they see on Google’s platforms. Since introducing this program, we’ve verified political advertisers in 30 countries. And now, to provide greater transparency and equip users with more information about who is advertising to them, we are extending identity verification to all advertisers on our platforms.

As part of this initiative, advertisers will be required to complete a verification program in order to buy ads on our network. Advertisers will need to submit personal identification, business incorporation documents or other information that proves who they are and the country in which they operate. Beginning this summer, users will start to see disclosures that list this information about the advertiser behind the ads they see.

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This change will make it easier for people to understand who the advertiser is behind the ads they see from Google and help them make more informed decisions when using our advertising controls. It will also help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves.

We will start by verifying advertisers in phases in the U.S. and continue to expand globally. Because we are working closely with our advertising partners to scale the program while continuing to ensure we are surfacing helpful information to our users, we expect that this process will take a few years to complete. Advertisers can learn more about the identity verification program here

At Google, our goal is to make more information about the ad experience universally available and accessible. Broadening our verification policy is the next step in reaching that goal. We’ll continue to look for additional ways to increase transparency in ads for our users. Stay tuned for more updates on our blog.