Twitter to ban all political advertising from November

31 Oct 2019144 Views

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‘We believe political reach should be earned, not bought,’ said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on the decision to ban political advertising.

Twitter will ban all political ads globally from 22 November 2019, according to tweets issued by company CEO Jack Dorsey on Wednesday (30 October).

The ban will impact both candidate ads and issue-based ads. Advertisements relating to voter registration will still be permitted, however.

“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,” Dorsey said.

He noted that it could be argued the move will favour incumbents, but maintained that political advertising is not necessary to galvanise prospective voters. “We have witnessed many social movements reach massive scale without any political advertising. I trust this will only grow,” he added.

Twitter’s stock price fell 1pc in after-hours trading amid the news. Earlier this month, Chinese video app TikTok said it would not allow paid political advertisements on its platform.

Twitter’s decision has elicited comparisons with how Facebook, and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has handled intense scrutiny over its practices regarding political advertisements.

Zuckerberg admitted in Congress last week that Facebook would not fact-check political advertising on its platform. The response attracted widespread ire, even from the company’s own employees, who recently penned an open letter urging the company to more intensely scrutinise political advertising on the platform.

Twitter has historically been stricter than other social media firms in terms of its advertising criteria. It rejected all advertising relating to Ireland’s Eighth Amendment referendum in 2018 before Facebook and Google followed suit.

It also has the capacity to curb political leaders who make spurious or excessively inflammatory statements, though commentators have noted that the company has yet to utilise these features.

Eva Short is a Journalist at Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com