As I reported earlier today, Google recently disclosed a considerable amount of information on Seattle political ads in response to Stranger reporting and a demand from this city's Ethics and Elections Commission.
Although Google itself admits the disclosure is incomplete, what the company has provided so far appears to mark a notable first: a tech giant handing over detailed information on local political ads when confronted with a municipal law regulating election transparency.
I've already noted one way that Google's disclosure falls short of what Seattle Ethics and Elections director Wayne Barnett says is required to satisfy this city's unique transparency law. I'll be going through Google's disclosure more closely and reporting back.
But for now, here's Google's entire disclosure (.pdf), which came in a white binder delivered to Barnett's office last week.
Dive on in and see for yourself—for the first time—the images, dollars, entities, and "number of displays" connected to more than 60 Google ad buys that aimed to influence Seattle voters during our 2017 municipal elections.
What Google has provided is, by the company's own admission, not perfect. It's missing something important: the targeting details for each ad sold. And once the numbers are crunched, it may fail to add up in the same way that Facebook's insufficient February 2 disclosure did.
Still, by scrolling through this Google disclosure one can begin to see what real transparency in online political ads could look like in this country, at both the local and national level.