As emphasized in recent years, securing elections from voter misinformation is a huge challenge. Google is setting out to brings tools it already introduced around the world to Europe ahead of parliamentary elections in 2019. This includes educating voters in Search, make ads more transparent, and offering security training.
Making sure voters are educated with “useful and relevant information” is a vital part of any working democracy. Google Search will feature Knowledge Panels that highlight key information with data populated from Election Commissions in EU member states.
The Google News Lab is working with news publications across all 27 countries to support fact checking.
They’ll be offering a series of free verification workshops to point journalists to the latest tools and technology to tackle disinformation and support their coverage of the elections.
Meanwhile, advertising can help sway voters, so Google is introducing an Election Ads Transparency Report for Europe. In addition to requiring that political ads note the sponsor, the Report consists of an ad library that users can search to see who is purchasing, the intended groups, and how much is being spent. This data is especially useful for journalists and transparency groups.
To bring people more information about the election ads they see across Google’s ad networks, we’ll require that ads that mention a political party, candidate or current officeholder make it clear to voters who’s paying for the advertising. We’ll also introduce a new process to verify EU election advertisers to make sure they are who they say they are.
Lastly, Google is working to help secure campaigns, elections officials, journalists, and human rights organizations. The company will be offering in-person security training for those most at risk of phishing attacks. These lessons will consist of walking through Advanced Protection Program sign-up and learning about the Project Shield service to protect against DDoS attacks by using Google’s infrastructure.
The elections will be held in May of next year with 350 million voters choosing 705 Members of European Parliament (MEPs).