Twitter Making a Big Move on Political Ads

Social media company is banning them starting November 22
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 30, 2019 3:33 PM CDT
Twitter Is Banning All Political Ads
This July 9, 2019, file photo shows a sign outside of the Twitter office building in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Twitter is banning all political advertising from its service, saying social media companies give advertisers an unfair advantage in proliferating highly targeted, misleading messages, the AP reports. "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," Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted Wednesday in a series of tweets announcing the new policy. Facebook has taken fire since it disclosed earlier in October that it will not fact-check ads by politicians or their campaigns, which could allow them to lie freely. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress last week that politicians have the right to free speech on Facebook. Critics have called on Facebook to ban all political ads.

Google and Facebook did not have immediate comments on Twitter's policy change, which takes effect Nov. 22. Dorsey said the company is recognizing that advertising on social media offers an unfair level of targeting compared to other mediums. It is not about free expression, he asserted. "This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today's democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle," he tweeted. "It's worth stepping back in order to address." Twitter currently only allows certified campaigns and organizations to run political ads for candidates and issues. It will ban both types of political ads. The company said some exceptions will be made, including ads that encourage voter turnout. It will describe those in a detailed policy it plans to release on Nov. 15.

(More Twitter stories.)

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