UPDATE 1-Google to allow some advertisers to run coronavirus-related ads
(Updates with confirmation and text of memo)
April 2 (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's Google will begin to allow some advertisers to run ads relating to the coronavirus on its platforms, in a change to its rules on advertising around "sensitive events," according to a copy of a memo to advertising clients obtained by Reuters.
The memo, sent from Google's head of industry for elections Mark Beatty and first reported by Axios, said Google is beginning to phase in advertisers who want to run ads related to COVID-19, prioritizing those advertisers that are working directly on this issue.
This week, it will allow ads from government hospitals, medical providers, and NGOs that want to get relevant information out to the public.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"Currently we do not allow such ads to run under our Sensitive Events policy, which is designed to protect users by blocking ads that try to capitalize on short-term events like natural disasters," said the memo.
"However, coronavirus has become an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation, including a relevant topic in political discourse and for many advertisers in different sectors," it said.
Beatty also said in the memo that Google was planning to allow other advertisers, including political organizations, to run ads related to COVID-19, saying it would have more information to share on this in the next few days. (Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Alistair Bell)
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