Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, was sworn in at a hearing by the Judiciary Committee in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
While Twitter and Facebook are publicly arguing over whether they should promote political ads on their sites, one big voice is noticeably absent from the debate: Google.
The Google Alphabet parent receives 84% of their advertising revenue, with an increasing amount coming from their YouTube video platform. Since last month, YouTube has stepped up its efforts to drive political advertising dollars away from TV and Facebook with new advertiser tools.
But this week, we didn't hear from Google, even when Jack Dorsey announced that Twitter would ban political ads by referring to Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook, who said his company's earnings were calling him not a private business an enterprise to "censor politicians and the news." The controversial Facebook advertising policy was a major issue during Zuckerberg's recent congressional testimony.
Despite its size and impact, Google has managed to escape from the same level of control. Consider the recent attack on Facebook by an ad from Trump's reelection campaign that contains false allegations of Joe Biden's activities in Ukraine. YouTube and Twitter also ran the ad, but avoided heavy criticism.
A Google spokesman declined to comment on this story.
One big difference with Google is that President Trump and other politicians are less visible there than they are on Facebook or Twitter, where they send persistent messages ̵
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee at the Rayburn House House on Capitol Hill on October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodeville | Get News Images Getty Images
But just because politicians don't talk so much about Google, it doesn't mean they don't spend on the site. The Trump Make America Great Again Committee is Google's largest political advertiser, paying $ 8.23 million, according to the company. In second place is the Senate Leadership Fund at $ 5.12 million, followed by the Congressional Leadership Fund at $ 4.15 million. Both groups support Republicans.
In total, Google received at least $ 121.9 million for 167,901 political ads in the United States as of May 31, 2018, according to the company's "transparency report" on its website. These figures are virtually insignificant for a company that has just generated $ 33.9 billion in advertising revenue in the last quarter.
The numbers are also small on Facebook and Twitter. Zuckerberg said this week that politicians' ads will be less than 0.5% of his company's revenue next year. Twitter Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal said the cost of political advertising for the 2018 midterm elections in the US is less than $ 3 million, equivalent to about 0.1% of the company's 2018 total revenue.
Video suggestions displayed on YouTube.
Google says on its website that it maintains "responsible political advertising" and expects all political ads to comply with local legal requirements. It does not allow "advertisements or destinations that intend to mislead consumers by excluding relevant information or providing misleading information about products, services or businesses."
But problematic content is widespread and the company is subject to serious scrutiny for its inability to adequate control of violators of misinformation policies, mainly on YouTube. In June, Reuters reported that 14 Russian-backed YouTube channels were generating billions of views and millions of dollars in advertising revenue, although they were not labeled state-sponsored. Google is facing fines and trying to change policies, usually after taking away their heat.
Facebook is a bigger target for political ads and is facing crisis after crisis amid the failure of the 2016 election. Twitter has also gotten its share of the blame.
Do you agree with their positions in political advertisements or not, at least they deal with the problem and take a position. Google executives have chosen not to discuss it.
WATCH: Dorsi and Zuckerberg go against political ads