The decision to stop the publishing of political ads in Twitter was announced with the tweets of Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey after Facebook announced to ban similar content. He posted that all political ads including candidate ads and advertisements on political issues were banned in order to prevent influencing the political decision of people which may affect millions of lives.
What are the reasons to ban political ads?
Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey declared the company’s ban on political advertisements with a tweet.
“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…”
Dorsey tweets the reasons for this decision. The main reason seems that political ads influence people’s political decisions. They have an effect on millions of lives due to force changing people’s political decisions prior to an election. First, he explained the mechanism of political ads.
“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.”
Internet advertising is very effective
With the words “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” he underlined the importance of online political ads.
According to Dorsey, political ads present challenges to civic discourse all at “increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale”.
“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. These challenges will affect ALL internet communication, not just political ads. Best to focus our efforts on the root problems, without the additional burden and complexity taking money brings. Trying to fix both means fixing neither well, and harms our credibility.” company CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted.
He defined Twitter as a small part of a much larger political advertising ecosystem. “Some might argue our actions today could favor incumbents. But we have witnessed many social movements reach a massive scale without any political advertising. I trust this will only grow.” Dorsey underlined.
The ban will start on 22 November
According to Dorsey, Twitter will announce the final version of the policy by 11/15, including a few exceptions regarding political advertisements. (ads in support of voter registration will still be allowed, for instance). The ban will start on 11/22 after informing current advertisers with notice and giving them a time period to prevent possible loss of data before this change goes into effect.
Finally, he added;
This 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. It’s worth stepping back in order to address.