Twitter will ban all political advertising

Twitter will no longer allow political advertising on its platform, founder Jack Dorsey announced Wednesday out of concern for the spread of misinformation. 

“Why? A few reasons ... ” Dorsey began a long string of tweets. 

“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 said.

The new policy is a stark contrast to that of Facebook, which is grappling with increasingly vocal critics of its hands-off political advertising policy ― the site refuses to fact-check claims made by politicians except in extreme cases. Founder Mark Zuckerberg did little to clear up questions about Facebook’s approach to stifling misinformation at a congressional hearing earlier this month.

Dorsey appeared to take multiple swipes at Zuckerberg.

“[I]t’s not credible for us to say: ‘We’re 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 wrote in one tweet.

The Facebook executive claimed in a recent letter to employees that the company is “working hard” to “give users more context on the content they see, demote violating content, and more.”

Zuckerberg has also used freedom of expression as his primary defense of Facebook’s lassez-faire policy, which Dorsey addressed head-on: “This isn’t about free expression. This is 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,” he concluded.

Twitter’s new policy won’t affect certain bipartisan topics, such as ads supporting voter registration, and will go into effect Nov. 22. More details will be provided by Nov. 15, Dorsey said. 

 

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