Twitter puts fairness ahead of profit, decides to ban political ads global

indica News Bureau-


Stealing a march over Facebook, which is in the eye of a storm over its refusal to curb disinformation, half-truths and blatant lies if they are being peddled by politicians, Twitter has decided to ban all political advertising on its platform worldwide.

The reach of political messages “should be earned, not bought”, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said.

“While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics,” Dorsey tweeted, according to the BBC.

The move came less than a week after Facebook, in the face of strong criticism from external entities and even a section of its own employees, ruled out a ban on political ads.

News of the ban divided American political camps for the 2020 presidential election. Brad Parscale, manager of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, called it “yet another attempt by the left to silence Trump and conservatives”.

But Bill Russo, spokesman for the campaign of Democratic front runner Joe Biden, said, “When faced with a choice between ad dollars and the integrity of our democracy, it is encouraging that, for once, revenue did not win out.”

The ban will be enforced from Nov 22, with full details released by Nov 15. Dorsey explained his position in a thread of tweets.

“We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally,” the CEO tweeted. “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons…”.

Internet political ads, he said, presented “entirely new challenges to civic discourse”. These challenges include “machine-learning-based optimization of messaging”, “micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes”.

“It’s not credible for us to say: ‘We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, but if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad… well… they can say whatever they want!'” he wrote.

Countering the argument that the new policy might be seen as favoring leaders already in office, Dorsey pointed out that “many social movements reach massive scale without political advertising”.

Ads in support of voter registration would not be affected by the ban, he added.