Twitter will ban all political adverts next month as social media platforms face scrutiny for showing adverts that convey false information which could steer elections.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted the ban will take effect on 22 November, saying political message reach should be “earned, not bought”. He added the company considered banning only US presidential candidates but decided against this due to fairness.
Adverts that promote voting guidelines and information, such as voter registration, will be allowed on the social media 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”, said Dorsey.
In a swipe at rival Facebook, he added it wouldn’t be credible for the company to proactively defend against the spread of false information and then “someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well…they can say whatever they want!”
For instance, it‘s not credible for us to say: “We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well…they can say whatever they want! 😉”
— jack 🌍🌏🌎 (@jack) October 30, 2019
Earlier this month Twitter reacted to criticism it has not done enough to block or suspend posts by world leaders breaching its own policies.
US President Donald Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale said the ban is “yet another attempt by the left to silence Trump and conservatives.”
He labelled the ban as a “dumb decision” and that Twitter has “walked away from hundreds of millions of dollars of potential revenue”.
Bill Russo, deputy communications director for US presidential candidate Joe Biden, said in an emailed statement to Reuters: “We appreciate that Twitter recognises that they should not permit disproven smears, like those from the Trump campaign, to appear in advertisements on their platform.
The Trump campaign has attacked Biden, without evidence, about his son’s business dealings with Ukraine and China, two regions that the US has geo-political tensions with.
Russo added: “It would be unfortunate to suggest that the only option available to social media companies to do so is the full withdrawal of political advertising, but 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”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back