Twitter Trolls Facebook in Banning Political Advertisements - Rolling Stone
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Twitter Says It Will No Longer Run Political Advertisements, Trolls Facebook

“This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach.”

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey leaves after his talk with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in ParisTwitter, Paris, France - 07 Jun 2019

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey leaves after his talk with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 7th, 2019.

Francois Mori/AP/Shutterstock

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Wednesday that the platform will no longer host political advertisements, a major shift in the social media giant’s policy ahead of the 2020 elections. “We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally,” he wrote. “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.”

Dorsey posted a lengthy explanation of his rationale, threaded over several additional tweets. “A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet,” he wrote. “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. 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.”

The announcement comes amid heightened scrutiny of how social media platforms regulate political advertisements. Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg struggled to explain his platform’s policy while testifying before Congress, indicating that political advertisements will not be fact-checked. “Congresswoman, in most cases, in a democracy, I believe people should be able to see for themselves what politicians they may or may not vote for are saying and judge their character for themselves,” Zuckerberg said when asked by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) whether Facebook will take down political advertisements that contain false information.

Dorsey appeared to throw in a jab at Zuckerberg in his explanation of Twitter’s decision. “[I]t‘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!” he wrote, throwing in a winking emoji

Dorsey noted that Twitter will lay out the specifics of the new policy on November 15th, and that the ban on political advertisements will include some exceptions, such as ads in support of voter registration. The new policy will go into effect November 22nd.

This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach,” he concluded. “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.”

In This Article: Social media, Twitter

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