Google will temporarily ban all political advertising on multiple platforms after formally designating the Capitol riots, the impeachment process and the inauguration as “sensitive events” under its policies, the company said Wednesday.
The pause will last from Jan. 14 until at least the day after the inauguration next week, the company said in a letter to marketers, which was obtained by CNN Business.
Google said in the letter that it will restrict advertising “referencing candidates, the election, its outcome, the upcoming presidential inauguration, the ongoing presidential impeachment process, violence at the US Capitol, or future planned protests on these topics.”
“There will not be any carveouts in this policy for news or merchandise advertisers,” Google continued in the letter.
Ads will be banned from Google as well as YouTube, according to the letter.
In a statement to CNN Business, a Google spokesperson said the ban is driven by last week’s Capitol violence.
“Given the events of the past week, we will expand our Sensitive Event policy enforcement to temporarily pause all political ads in addition to any ads referencing impeachment, the inauguration, or protests at the US Capitol,” Google said in the statement. “We regularly pause ads over unpredictable, ‘sensitive’ events when ads can be used to exploit the event or amplify misleading information. Beyond this, we have long-standing policies blocking content that incites violence or promotes hate and we will be extremely vigilant about enforcing on any ads that cross this line.”
Google imposed a similar “sensitive events” ad blackout surrounding Election Day and for several weeks after. The company lifted its election-related moratorium on political advertising on Dec. 10, indicating in a letter to advertisers obtained by CNN Business that “we no longer consider the post-election period to be a sensitive event.”
But the events of the past several weeks, culminating in last week’s riots, suggest that determination may have been premature.