(NEW YORK) — Twitter will no longer allow political advertising on their platform, co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Wednesday.”We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” Dorsey tweeted, along with a number of additional tweets explaining the reasons why.
“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 wrote. “Internet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.””We considered stopping only candidate ads, but issue ads present a way to circumvent. Additionally, it isn’t fair for everyone but candidates to buy ads for issues they want to push. So we’re stopping these too,” Dorsey added.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign team responded to the news.”We appreciate that Twitter recognizes that they should not permit disproven smears, like those from the Trump campaign, to appear in advertisements on their platform,” said Bill Russo, the Biden campaign’s deputy communications director in a statement. “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.”The final policy will be shared on Nov. 15 and will go into effect on Nov. 22, Dorsey said, noting there will be a “few exceptions” including ads that support voter registration.”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,” Dorsey concluded.
velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.”(MORE: Maxine Waters, AOC slam Zuckerberg during Libra testimony for ads that give ‘licence to lie’)”We considered stopping only candidate ads, but issue ads present a way to circumvent. Additionally, it isn’t fair for everyone but candidates to buy ads for issues they want to push. So we’re stopping these too,” Dorsey added.The final policy will be shared on Nov. 15 and will go into effect on Nov. 22, Dorsey said, noting there will be a “few exceptions” including ads that support voter registration.”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,” Dorsey concluded.Dorsey’s announcement is a striking contrast from Facebook’s standing policy, which virtually gives advertisers free reign on the platform to spread disinformation in political ads, amid rising concerns over the influence of social media on voters ahead of the 2020 election.Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled on Capitol Hill as he defended the social media giant’s controversial policy about not fact-checking most political ads before lawmakers.In his congressional testimony, Zuckerberg said his company would not engage in any censorship or fact-checking of political ads – and when pressed by several Democratic committee members, the tech-giant founder argued, “We believe in a democracy, it is important that people can see for themselves what politicians are saying.”One of the tensest exchanges for Zuckerberg came when Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., questioned him about Facebook’s fact-checking policy, and underscored a key flaw in their stance on Freedom of Speech.”I just want to know how far I can push this in the next year,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Under your policy using census data as well, could I pay to target black zip codes and advertise them the incorrect election date?”Zuckerberg said, “No.””Could I run ads targeting Republicans in primaries saying they voted for the Green New Deal?” she asked. In the hearing room, he replied that he did not know the answer.But the tension between Facebook and Washington goes beyond the halls of Congress – as several 2020 presidential candidates have scolded the social network site for their policies.Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., intentionally ran a paid Facebook ad with a completely false claim about Zuckerberg endorsing Trump for president, in order to show how an individual can exploit Facebook’s policy and lie to a universe of social media users.In early October, the campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden sent a letter to Facebook asking to remove a false ad, run and paid for by President Trump’s campaign, but Facebook denied their request because the company said it does not violate company policies.”Our approach is grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and the belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is. Thus, when a politician speaks or makes an ad, we do not send it to third-party fact checkers,” Katie Harbath, Public Policy Director, Global Elections for Facebook wrote.The first Democratic hopeful to react to Twitter’s announcement was Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who tweeted, “Good. Your turn, Facebook.” Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved