Twitter has decided to ban all political advertising on its platform beginning in late November.
Irina Ivanova had the news for CBS:
Twitter is halting all political advertisements across its social media platform starting late next month, founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced Wednesday. “Political message reach should be earned, not bought,” Dorsey said in a series of tweets.
“A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. 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,” he said.
“While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics,” Dorsey added.
The ban on political ads takes effect November 22, with a few exceptions, such as ads that encourage voter registration.
The BBC quoted one of the tweets of Jack Dorsey and a reaction from rival Facebook:
“While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics,” company CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted.
Social media rival Facebook recently ruled out a ban on political ads.
News of the ban divided America’s political camps for the 2020 election.
Brad Parscale, manager of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, said the ban was “yet another attempt by the left to silence Trump and conservatives”.
But Bill Russo, spokesman for the campaign to elect Democratic front-runner Joe Biden, said: “When faced with a choice between ad dollars and the integrity of our democracy, it is encouraging that, for once, revenue did not win out.”
Reacting to the move, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg defended his company’s policy.
“In a democracy, I don’t think it’s right for private companies to censor politicians or the news,” he said during a conference call with journalists.
CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan and Brian Fung reported:
Twitter’s chief financial officer, Ned Segal, tweeted Wednesday that the company made less than $3 million from political ads in the 2018 cycle.
“This decision was based on principle, not money,” he said.
The announcement comes amid intense scrutiny of Silicon Valley’s handling of political ads. Social media companies, particularly Facebook, have been criticized for allowing politicians to run false ads.
Dorsey’s comments puts him at odds with senior Facebook (FB) executives, including Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, who have vigorously defended Facebook’s policy of not fact-checking political ads.
Brad Parscale, President Trump’s campaign manager, called Twitter’s move “a very dumb decision for their stockholders.”
“This is yet another attempt to silence conservatives,” he said in a statement, “since Twitter knows President Trump has the most sophisticated online program ever known.”
In a lengthy series of tweets about Twitter’s decision, Dorsey said that “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 said Twitter will also stop running issue ads, which Twitter characterizes as ads that “advocate for or against legislative issues of national importance.”