Twitter announced that it plans to stop hosting political advertising by Nov. 22, citing the immense influence that targeted ads may have on elections.
The announcement of this decision came via Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey’s account on Wednesday, and applies not only to candidate ads but to “issue ads” as well.
Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s legal and policy lead, quickly followed up with a clarifying tweet. She also added that the exact rules and exemptions of this policy will be published on Nov. 15, one week before enforcement is slated to begin.
hi – here’s our current definition:
1/ Ads that refer to an election or a candidate, or
2/ Ads that advocate for or against legislative issues of national importance (such as: climate change, healthcare, immigration, national security, taxes)
This decision stems from Twitter’s belief that targeted online political marketing can compromise the flow of political information and the integrity of Twitter as a platform. “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 explained.
He added that Twitter could lose credibility if it continues to allow political interests “to target and force people to see their political ad,” while also seeking to remain an organic platform.
The Twitter founder also stressed that this move “isn’t about free expression. 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.”
This upcoming policy marks Twitter’s divergence from big-tech’s general attitude about political advertising. Facebook recently confirmed that it will keep selling ads as the 2020 election approaches.
Twitter’s impending rules are not without detractors. President Donald Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale decried Twitter’s new rule as “yet another attempt by the left to silence Trump and conservatives.”