WASHINGTON — Twitter will no longer run political ads, CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Wednesday in a shot across the bow at Facebook, which faces rising heat over its policy of allowing candidates to lie in their campaign messaging.
The move drew quick praise from American Democrats including Hillary Clinton, who called it “the right thing to do for democracy in America and all over the world.” But it provoked an immediate rebuke from President Donald Trumps campaign, which denounced it as “yet another attempt to silence conservatives.”
In a series of tweets, Dorsey portrayed the move as an attempt to protect democracy against moneyed interests engaging in deliberate deception.
“We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” Dorsey said. “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.”
Weve 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
Twitter is removing itself from the contentious tangle embroiling Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg as U.S. political campaigns prepare to spend vast sums of money on online advertising around the 2020 elections.
Spending on political advertisements overall could reach as much as $6 billion in the 2020 election cycle, according to projections from Advertising Analytics and Cross Screen Media, firms that analyze the advertising market. They predict $1.6 billion will be spent on digital video, with Facebook and Google collecting the bulk of that money.
So far, Facebook has raked in $857 million on political and issues-based advertisements since May 2018, the company has disclosed. Google and its video platform YouTube have pulled in $122 million from adds featuring politicians holding or seeking federal office during that same period. A Twitter spokesperson did not respond to a request for information on how much revenue political advertising generates for the social network. The company previously disclosed that it brought in roughly $3 million in political advertising revenue during the 2018 midterm election cycle.
Twitters new policy applies worldwide, not just in the U.S., and to issue ads as well as ads run by specific political campaigns.
Dorsey didnt name Zuckerberg in his series of tweets announcing the change, which takes effect November 22. But he didnt shy away from poking holes in the defense Zuckerberg has offered of Facebooks controversial handling of political ads.
Dorsey, for example, tweeted, “This isnt about free expression. This is about paying for reach.” Zuckerberg gave a high-profile speech at Georgetown University two weeks back in which he cited his companys commitment to “free expression” as the reason for allowing misleading political ads on its site.
The Twitter chief also took aim at the Zuckerberg-promoted claim that tightening policies around political ads would disproportionately hurt challengers and grassroots groups. Dorsey said that “we have witnessed many social movements reach massive scale without any political advertising.”
And he mocked the prospect of continuing to adopt Facebook-style positions on misinformation. “[I]ts not credible for us to say: Were 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!'” Dorsey tweeted.
Clinton made text of the subtext, directly pressing Facebook to answer Twitters challenge. “This is the right thing to do for democracy in America and all over the world. What say you, @facebook?” tweeted Clinton, the target of a vast Russia-linked misinformation that flourished on Facebook and Twitter in the 2016 election.
Zuckerberg, though, dug in on Facebooks latest quarterly earnings call, which happened to start just an hour after Dorsey announced the new policy. He didnt foreclose the possibility of ever reconsidering, saying hell continue to assess “whether we should not carry these ads” but has decided “on balance” that its the right call.
“Right now, the content debate is about political ads. Should we block political ads with false statements? Should we block all political ads?” Zuckerberg said. “In a democracy, I dont think its right for private companies to censor politicians or the news.”
Facebook has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks for allowing Trumps reeRead More – Source