• Pressure has been mounting on tech companies over their political ad policies
  • Vote-counting is expected to extend well beyond election night because of the expected deluge of mail-in ballots
  • Google accounts for nearly a third of all digital advertising

Google announced Friday it would ban ads related to the U.S. elections while votes are being counted amid mounting pressure on tech companies to address concerns about their ad policies.

Google’s move followed word from Facebook earlier in the week that it would not allow ads that prematurely declare a winner or accept new ads in the week leading up to Election Day, Nov. 3. Twitter banned all political ads in October.

Pressure has been mounting on tech companies to weed out misinformation and disinformation on their platforms as evidence mounts of foreign entities trying to meddle in the election. Additionally, President Trump has been trying to sow distrust in any election results that don’t show him as the winner.

Google accounts for nearly a third of all U.S. digital ad spending, research firm eMarketer reported. Google reported it has run 449,326 political ads since May 31, 2018, pocketing more than $432 million. The heaviest spending has been in California (nearly $43 million) and Florida (nearly $39 million), followed by Texas (nearly $27 million), Pennsylvania ($21.3 million) and Michigan ($18.5 million).

Google, which earlier barred advertisers from microtargeting voters, said its ban will extend to state and local races as well as national races, and involves any ads that mention political figures, parties or ballot issues.

“This policy will be broadly scoped across ads running through Google Ads, DV360, YouTube, and AdX Authorized Buyer and is intended to block all ads related to the election,” Google said in an email to CNN Business.

The Google ban is part of its sensitive event policy.

Vote-counting is expected to extend beyond election night because of an expected deluge of mail-in votes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and rules in some states that prevent election officials from beginning the count before the polls close.

Axios reported it is unclear how long the ban will last, but advertisers reportedly have been told to expect it to last at least a week. Though preliminary results are announced earlier, states will not finish their canvasses and finalize their results until late November or early December.

“We will carefully examine a number of factors before deciding to lift this policy for advertisers and share updates as we have them,” the email said.

“While this policy is in place, advertisers will not be able to run ads referencing candidates, the election, or its outcome, given that an unprecedented amount of votes will be counted after election day this year," Google added.