Twitter to Ban Political Ads Globally

The Associated Press
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Twitter will ban all political ads globally, in a move that sets the platform apart from Facebook, which considered doing the same but decided against it.

“We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” said Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.

“Why? A few reasons.”

“A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet,” wrote Dorsey. “Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money.”

“While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions.”

“Internet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.”

Dorsey also hinted that the “burden and complexity” of allowing political ads on Twitter, which has fewer resources compared to larger tech platforms like YouTube and Facebook, was a factor. 

“Best to focus our efforts on the root problems, without the additional burden and complexity taking money brings. Trying to fix both means fixing neither well, and harms our credibility.” 

In further comments that appeared to criticize the stance of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has resisted pressure from Democrats to ban political ads that contain “lies,” or ban political ads altogether, Dorsey said that allowing such ads would be hypocritical.

it‘s not credible for us to say: ‘We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well…they can say whatever they want!'” said the Twitter CEO. 

Dorsey called for “forward-looking political ad regulation” that goes beyond transparency requirements.

“Some might argue our actions today could favor incumbents,” said Dorsey (another reference to an argument made by Mark Zuckerberg), “But we have witnessed many social movements reach massive scale without any political advertising”

Dorsey said that Twitter’s full policy on political ads would be released on the 15th of November. 

Are you an insider at Reddit or any other tech company who wants to confidentially reveal wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari at his secure email address allumbokhari@protonmail.com

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.

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