Twitter just announced - via Twitter, naturally - that it will no longer serve political advertisements.
The social network plans to ban all political ads around the globe, starting 22 November, according to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and the official Twitter Safety account. This change affects candidate ads and issue ads. It will allow ads encouraging voter registration, however, as well as some other exceptions. Twitter's new political ad policy will be made available on 15 November.
We’ve been examining our political ads policies to ensure we’re serving the needs of the people who use Twitter.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) October 30, 2019
Starting next month, we're no longer allowing political advertisements on Twitter. We’ll share more details on November 15. https://t.co/aOtNtt9KJQ
Twitter's decision to stop serving politics ads comes a couple weeks after Facebook was put in the hot seat for admitting during a congressional hearing that it does not fact-check claims made by politicians in ads they place on its platform. It sparked conversations about whether social networks should limit free speech, and if they were to, to prevent the spread of misinformation, should they have some sort of transparent technology or process in place that assuredly fact-checks without bias? That is obviously a monumental task.
But if these companies don't closely monitor political ads running on their platform, or enact any sort of policy that helps curb fake news, should they be held accountable or punished in some way? It almost makes you wonder if it's even worth their time to allow political ads, and whether Congress should regulate every social network's ability to serve them.
Add it all up, and Twitter likely realised this is one battle it wants to sit out, despite the potential loss in ad revenue.
In several tweets, Dorsey admitted internet ads bring "significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions". He also said Twitter believes "political message reach should be earned, not bought".
Here's his full statement:
We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons…— jack (@jack) October 30, 2019
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