Does Google not realize Beto O’Rourke is running for president?
QZ has an interesting story about Google allowing Beto O’Rourke’s ads to slip through its political advertising filters:
Google has been treating Beto’s campaign ads as if they weren’t political content, raising questions over whether Google is capable of keeping its already anemic promise of transparency for political ads.
This is by no means the first time Google has broken its own rules about political ads. Google promised Washington state’s attorney general that it would stop selling political ads there, settling a lawsuit over its alleged failure to comply with long-standing state disclosure rules. But it kept selling them anyways. Google says the way to check up on its work is to use its transparency archive—but when ads are missing from the archive, there’s little way of knowing what’s not there.
QZ frames this as a question about whether Google is up to the task of preventing foreign election interference, but I think the more interesting and relevant question is one of bias.
Would Google, whose executives have privately expressed a preference for left-of-center candidates and causes, have made this same sort of “mistake” with a Republican candidate for President of the United States?