Twitter announced that it will no longer accept political advertising all over the world. The ban takes effect on 22 Nov.
Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder and CEO, posted a statement saying “We believe political reach should be earned, not bought.”
“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.”
In the series of tweets, Dorsey also posted that “it‘s not credible for [Twitter] to say: ‘We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut (sic) if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well…they can say whatever they want!”
Twitter’s decision appears to be an obvious challenge to Facebook’s defense of its policy of not fact-check political advertisements and thus allowing politicians to lie in targeted social media advertisements.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the company’s stand as an issue of “free speech” in a democracy.
Zuckerberg outright said that “I don’t think it’s right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy.”
In contrast, Dorsey argued that Twitter’s new policy is not an issue of “free expression” but rather about “paying for reach.”
“[P]aying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle. It’s worth stepping back in order to address.”
Twitter defined a political advertisement as “ads that refer to an election or a candidate” and “ads that advocate for or against legislative issues of national importance (such as: climate change, healthcare, immigration, national security, taxes).”
We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons…?
— jack ??? (@jack) October 30, 2019
One tweet from a user with millions of followers gets better reach than political ads on the platform, and a tweet is free./TISG