Twitter has made the landmark decision to ban political ads, as Facebook continues to deal with the ramifications of its controversial policies.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced the move on Wednesday, in a long series of Tweets.
“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,” he said.
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
“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 said it would be hypocritical for Twitter to say it is preventing the spread of misinformation on the platform, but to then take money from political ads.
“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,” he said.
Twitter’s decision was no doubt influenced by Facebook’s stance on political ads, which was recently brought to light by US senator and presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren.
Warren recently took out an ad on Facebook alledging Mark Zuckerberg had endorsed Donald Trump for re-election.
While the accusation was completely untrue, it highlighted the fact Facebook does not fact check ads by politicians on the platform.
“It is not our role to intervene when politicians speak,” Facebook vice president of global affairs and communication Nick Clegg said about the stance.
According to the New York Times, more than 250 Facebook employees have signed a petition to change the company’s stance on political advertising.
“Our current policies on fact checking people in political office, or those running for office, are a threat to what FB stands for. We strongly object to this policy as it stands,” the letter reportedly says.