Twitter to Ban Political Ads

A Twitter logo is seen on a computer screen on November 20, 2017. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

By Joe Creason

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has announced that Twitter will be banning all political ads.

“We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” Dorsey said in a tweet.

Dorsey explained that political messages on Twitter should earn their reach by people following account or popular support by retweeting, and that involving paid ads and money compromises peoples political choice by having highly optimized messages forced upon them.

According to Ned Segal, Twitter’s chief financial officer, Twitter made less than $3 million dollars from political ads in the 2018 election cycle. Segal also said that the decision based on principles and not money.

This news comes amongst the back drop of the on going controversy over tech giants in Silicon Valley and their handling of the nations political climate with regards to news coverage and ads. Large social media platforms have been critics for allowing political groups and candidates running false ads, particularly Facebook.

“We need to be careful about adopting more and more rules” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “In a democracy, I don’t think its right for private companies to censor politicians or the news”.

Zuckerberg has been along time critic of placing constraints on his tech platform. According to Zuckerberg, political ad revenue is less the 0.5 percent of total revenue and that the company benefits little financially from its controversial stance on the issue. Banning political adds silences the voices of grass roots moments and favors incumbents as well as whoever the media is covering, says Zuckerberg.

Many who disagree with Zuckerberg, including Facebook employees and other industry leaders, wrote in a letter reported by the New York Times earlier this week.

“high-profile politicians can out spend new voices and drown out the competition” they said.

Dorsey stands by his new Twitter policy.

“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.”