Twitter announces ban on all political advertising ahead of 2020 elections
October 30, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter will no longer allow candidates or issue-based organizations to run paid “political” advertisements, company CEO Jack Dorsey announced Wednesday afternoon.
“We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally,” Dorsey announced in a lengthy Twitter thread, declaring that “political message reach should be earned, not bought.” The new policy will apply not only to ads by candidates for office, but to anyone who wants to “buy ads for issues they want to push.”
Twitter will release details on how exactly the new rules will work by November 15, with enforcement beginning on November 22, almost one year before the United States’ next presidential and congressional elections.
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.— jack ������ (@jack) October 30, 2019
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
In addition, we need more forward-looking political ad regulation (very difficult to do). Ad transparency requirements are progress, but not enough. The internet provides entirely new capabilities, and regulators need to think past the present day to ensure a level playing field.— jack ������ (@jack) October 30, 2019
“This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach,” Dorsey insisted. “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.”
It remains to be seen how the new policy will affect the spending decisions of the various presidential candidates, but immediate reactions are focusing on how it will affect everyone else using Twitter to champion political causes.
While a blanket prohibition on candidate and issue advertising theoretically applies equally to both sides, conservatives fear that in practice it will benefit left-wing political narratives promoted within “news” content from mainstream media outlets as well as ideological messages favored by Twitter personnel. Concerns also remain as to how Twitter will decide which subjects and terminology qualify as “political.”
Eliminating political advertising benefits establishment media (which can still buy ads) and incumbents. Without political ads there’d be no new contenders.— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) October 30, 2019
Jack, the first sentence here should be how Twitter works for everyone. Yet it is not.— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) October 30, 2019
Stop shadow-banning and auto-unfollowing people and let them make the decisions on who to follow/block/mute. If someone can't function with those options, they can't function period. https://t.co/sYXLjEQUTy
Let me guess:— Stephen Herreid (@StephenHerreid) October 30, 2019
Pro-life messaging is "political."
"Women's health" is not.
Pro-family / marriage messaging is "political."
LGBT messaging is not. https://t.co/IvDG8S8Ntd
Various actions and incidents have fueled conservative suspicion of Twitter’s motives.
The company holds the mere act of “misgendering” someone — i.e., referring to a user by his sex rather than his chosen “gender identity” — to be “hateful conduct,” yet has let stand violent and hateful tweets directed at conservatives. There has been a long series of bans and suspensions affecting non-violent, non-obscene tweets from right-of-center perspectives (including LifeSiteNews), and Twitter insiders have admitted to intentionally targeting conservative accounts and topics.
Dorsey’s announcement also creates a stark contrast between Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, which earned the ire of Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren this month by confirming that it does not subject ads by political candidates to its third-party “fact-checking” program.