Twitter has said it will ban all political advertising on its platform starting in November. CEO Jack Dorsey announced the news on (where else?) Twitter at a time where rival social media giant Facebook has been criticised for refusing to do so, even when the ads are blatantly misleading.
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
Dorsey even appeared to use the opportunity in his explanation thread, tweeted entirely from his iPhone, to have a dig at Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook:
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
The November introduction of this rule means Twitter will be free of all political advertising in the lead up to the UK’s December general election. Twitter was used to spread the “potentially misleading claim” that the EU directly takes £350 million per year away from the NHS that is believed to have swayed voting in the 2016 EU referendum.
The decision has met with praise from the left but fury from the right. Donald Trump’s campaign re-election manager claimed that the move was a deliberate attempt from a liberal company to halt the campaign:
It's telling that Parscale leads with the fact Twitter has walked about from “hundreds of millions of dollars of potential revenue”, implying that Facebook’s reasons for keeping political advertising is mainly financial.
Whichever political side you fall on, you might have to concede that it is a bold move from Twitter that helps to stop the spread of misinformation. It also will serve to take away the criticism the platform has received in recent years on its hesitance to stop far right hate speech or curb the rants of President Trump (both of which are technically possible but politically charged).