Twitter bans all political advertising following Facebook's refusal

  • Twitter has announced a ban on all political advertising will come into effect later this month. It follows statements from Facebook ruling out a political advertising ban.

    Advertising has been the business model of choice for social media since its inception, with companies able to target specific demographics and people with certain interests due to analytics performed on users. The question faced over the past four years has been whether to allow advertising of a political nature.

    The Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed that the personal information of millions of users on Facebook was being harvested without their permission and used to micro-target political advertising to those deemed most likely to change their minds. This kind of micro-targeted advertising was reportedly to sway opinion in the 2016 Brexit referrendum and the US presidential elections.

    Facebook was fined over $5bn for its role in the scandal and related misuse of customer data, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently ruled out a ban political advertising altogether. Now Twitter is piling on the pressure as it has announced that it will stop all political advertising globally later this month.

    "We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought," explained Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a thread on the decision, adding that "A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money."

    The full text of the new policy banning political advertising will be released on November 15th and will go into effect on November 22nd. The new policy will still allow for advertisements in support of voter registration and some other exceptions, though it isn't clear whether those types of advertising could be aimed at specific demographics. It's also not clear yet whether official messaging from an elected government would be covered under the exceptions, an issue that will be important those of us in the UK.

    Source: Twitter

    About the author

    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

Share this story