Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took to social media to unveil a new ad policy set to hit Twitter next month. Twitter will cease political ads beginning in November, in an effort to slow the spread of false information. In a thread of tweets released earlier today, Dorsey goes on to say the decision was “not about freedom of expression. It’s about paying for reach.” There is no doubt this new policy is a deliberate reaction to the outcome of the previous presidential election. But it could also be Twitter being proactive for the next.
As campaigns and campaign contributions get larger by the year, so does their influence. A candidate with massive financial backing could theoretically run ten times the amount of ads as one without, and in the process reach tens of millions more potential voters as a result. As more people turn to the internet, and more importantly social media for news, the more likely they are to run into an ad pushing a specific issue, backed by a specific candidate. The water gets a bit murky here, as the ads can be presented by not only candidates but third parties who may or may not be trying to intentionally mislead you.
While this is a massive step towards regulating the reach of harmful content, Twitter still has a long way to go. They have consistently had issues with accounts promoting hate speech and racism reaching millions of users daily. The site has come under scrutiny several times for refusing to implement an algorithm they used to flag ISIS-related tweets against tweets that promote white supremacy.
The initial rollout of this new Twitter policy will begin on November 15th and users will see it fully implemented on November 22nd. Certain types of ads will still be allowed (Voter registration ads for example), but even they could be subjected to new regulation per Twitter’s new ad policies. Check out Jack’s full post below, or head over to his Twitter profile for more:
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