Twitter Bans All Political Advertising. Now That The Initial Applause Has Died Down, Why This Could Be A Bad Thing

Written by Ann Brown
Twitter and Facebook have made some major decisions about political ads –and they are quite the opposite. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on ‘Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms’ on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Twitter and Facebook have made some major decisions about political ads –and they are quite the opposite.

Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, recently announced the tech giant will be banning political ads — all political ads. 

In a Twitter post, Dorsey said: “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.”

The new policy will take effect on November 22 and for the most part, has been praised. 

In a tweet, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York wrote that the policy is a “good call,” adding, “if a company cannot or does not wish to run basic fact-checking on paid political advertising, then they should not run paid political ads at all.”

But some say the new policy will hurt advocacy groups while helping Big Oil.

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“Twitter’s new policy allows ExxonMobil to keep filling up your newsfeed with ads about a biofuel that isn’t going to be commercially viable for at least another decade. But it bans a politician from buying ad space to tell you that, if elected, they plan to go after Big Oil,” Grist reported.

And, Bawadden Sayed, a spokesman for the progressive campaign-finance-reform group End Citizens United, told Business Insider the company’s ban makes it harder for the group to reach a younger, more diverse audience. 

“The problem is that companies shouldn’t be self-regulating,” Sayed told Insider. “And the solution isn’t to ban political ads or allow candidates to put money behind lies. The answer is a combination of clear-cut rules and enforcement mechanisms that will end the Wild West era of digital advertising.”

Meanwhile, Facebook recently announced it will no longer fact-check political ads. 

“Both policies, particularly Facebook’s, will have far-reaching impacts on future campaigns and elections. Campaigns alone are expected to spend more than $2.5 billion on digital ads by next November. Republicans and Democrats are generally on opposite sides of the issue: While many on left prefer that tech companies more closely regulate or ban political ads, many on the right are pushing for full freedom for campaigns and political groups to advertise what they wish,” Business Insider reported.