Twitter makes ad transparency tools available to all users

29 Jun 2018

Twitter app open on mobile phone resting on Apple keyboard. Image: BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock

Twitter users will now find it easier to spot political campaign ads and find out who paid for them.

Twitter has announced it will display detailed data on its advertisers to any user. The feature, launched yesterday (28 June), will allow anyone to be able to search for an account and examine every ad run by said account over the past seven days.

In the US, users will be able to see billing data, ad spend information, demographic targeting data and the number of views received by a tweet. The ‘Ad Transparency Center’ had been in the works for a number of months.

Standing up to scrutiny

The alterations from Twitter follow some intense scrutiny in terms of fake accounts, spam and political interference both from the general public and international political authorities. Back in May of this year, the platform began enforcing stricter rules requiring advertisers running political campaigns for federal US elections to certify they were located in the US.

A similar move was carried out by Facebook earlier this year. The social media platform launched a massive, searchable archive of political ads in the US and it also launched other transparency tools around the world, Ireland included. Facebook will also allow users to see listings of all active ad campaigns, regardless of the political content of the ads. A log of page name changes will also be publicly available.

How will the feature work?

Initially, all global Twitter advertisers will be included, but only US federal election campaign ads that fall under the new policy will be shown. Google also said it would be launching a similar transparency hub this summer.

Twitter stated: “If an ad is reported and taken down from Twitter, it will be tombstoned in the Ads Transparency Center within approximately 24 hours. If the account was suspended, tweets will not be shown in the ATC. The same applies to deleted users and tweets.”

Twitter said it would be developing a new policy for issue-based ads and would also be enhancing the transparency hub in general.

Twitter app open on mobile phone resting on Apple keyboard. Image: BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects