Tech

GOP election committees join Trump campaign in condemning Google's political ad policy change

Key Points
  • The Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee joined Trump's reelection campaign in condemning Google's recent political ad policy changes.
  • Google announced last week that it would no longer allow political advertisers to target voters beyond basic traits like gender, age and location.
  • The groups claim Google's changes will "disproportionately impact" Trump and other candidates, though the policy applies to all parties.
US President Donald Trump takes part in a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 19, 2019.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump's reelection campaign condemned Google's recent changes to its political advertising policy Tuesday, this time joined by several Republican election committees.

"Google's latest arbitrary rule changes are a blatant attempt to suppress voter information, knowledge, and engagement in the 2020 election," the Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee and Trump 2020 Campaign said in a joint statement Tuesday. "These actions will lead directly to suppressing voter turnout."

In a statement, a Google spokesperson said, "We know that political campaign strategists on both sides of the aisle have raised concerns about how our changes may alter their targeting strategies, but we believe the balance we have struck -- allowing political ads to remain on our platforms while limiting narrow targeting that can reduce the visibility of ads and trust in electoral processes -- is the right one."

Google announced last week that it would no longer allow political advertisers to target voters beyond basic traits like gender, age and location. That means key features like targeting users based on email list uploads or interests will not be available to political advertisers of any party.

"Re: Google," Trump's reelection campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted after the announcement, "Political elites & Big Tech want to rig elections - Dem primary & 2020 included. They're targeting Trump because he's the big dog, but they're also after Dems like Sanders & Warren."

Tuesday's statement shows the Trump campaign is backed by the rest of the GOP election apparatus in its condemnation of Google's changes. The groups claim "Google's decision will disproportionately impact both the Trump operation and all of the Republican candidates and organizations that derive strength from it," even though the policy is the same across parties. Parscale ran Trump's digital operation in 2016, and the strategist has credited digital platforms with contributing to the campaign's success.

But Democratic campaign strategists have similarly claimed that Google's policy shift will hurt their ability to target voters by preventing them from uploading and targeting their lists of donors. They've also complained the policy does not do enough to tackle disinformation, which some claim is a more pressing threat.

Part of the Republicans' argument leans on long-standing gripes with tech companies over claims of bias against conservatives. The groups wrote they are "highly skeptical" Google's policies will be "applied equally to conservative and liberal organizations."

The statement also addressed Twitter's recent ban of political ads, which was a more extreme approach than Google took. After Twitter's announcement, Parscale called the move "yet another attempt by the left to silence Trump and conservatives."

But in the joint statement, the Trump Campaign and the committees minimized Twitter's influence.

"Much has been made of Twitter's equally concerning decision to ban political ads and suppress speech, but because advertising on that platform is ineffective and only a tiny percentage of Americans use Twitter, their impact is insignificant," they wrote. "Google, however, is a serious platform with very deep reach across the entire country."

Twitter was a much less significant advertising platform for campaigns than Google and Facebook. While calling on Google to reverse its decision, the groups are also sending an unspoken message to Facebook. The platform is the last hold out these three platforms to alter its targeting policies, but is reportedly considering changes.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

WATCH: Google to end microtargeting for political ads

VIDEO2:2002:20
Google to end microtargeting for political ads