Some lawmakers in the House and Senate are backing a move by Google announced last week that will require political campaigns to disclose if they are using artificial intelligence in their political advertisements.
“Google’s initiative with SynthID is a step towards ensuring digital transparency,” Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., told Fox News Digital. “As we navigate this new digital age, it’s important that Americans have tools to discern fact from fiction and to critically assess content they find online.”
Google announced an updated political content policy on Wednesday that will take place in November and require election advertisers on YouTube and other Google platforms to prominently disclose when their ads “contain synthetic content that inauthentically depicts real or realistic-looking people or events.”
“This disclosure must be clear and conspicuous and must be placed in a location where it is likely to be noticed by users,” the tech giant said.
The policy will be in application in the U.S. as well as countries that have verification processes for advertisers, including India and the European Union.
The policy applies to image, video and audio content, and it exempts ads that contain AI content that is altered or generated in a way deemed “inconsequential” to the claims made in the ad – meaning cosmetic changes such as cropping, resizing, red-eye removal or background edits that do not disclose “realistic events” would not require a disclosure.
The company said examples of ads that would require disclosure include someone appearing to say something they didn’t; content that alters footage of a real event; or content that shows a realistic portrayal of something that did not happen.
Democrat lawmakers said the move was a positive one and allows for greater accountability as well as better information for the electorate.
“This is a good first step toward increasing transparency and accountability in our elections, and I encourage other platforms to follow suit,” Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., told Fox News Digital that requiring disclosures “is a very positive step, which I strongly support” but also called on Congress to take a bigger role in responding to the new technology.
“Google’s announcement will give a much-needed boost to transparency and accountability in the public square, and I encourage other tech companies to follow this example,” he said. “History suggests that voluntary commitments from companies will likely be insufficient to solve such a large, rapidly changing problem in the long term, which makes it all the more important that Congress become knowledgeable about and proactive in addressing issues arising from AI, including its role in political campaigns.”
The growth of AI in recent years has been rapid, and while it opens up significant new avenues across multiple fields, it has also been accompanied by concerns about potential for misinformation as well as impacts on employment and safety concerns.
In the 2024 field, AI has already seen some use. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis used AI footage to show former President Donald Trump hugging Dr. Anthony Fauci in an ad that criticized Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, the Republican National Committee released an AI-generated ad that depicted a grim future for the U.S. if President Biden won reelection.
Democrats in the House and Senate have set up working groups with an eye to crafting regulation on the matter while Republicans have set up meetings with experts on the topic to brief members.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and the Associated Press contributed to this report.