Twitter has decided to ban political advertisements on its platform, citing that political messages should earn organic reach, not buy it. The company will enforce the ban with effect from November 22, allowing users to choose who to follow for political messages.
According to Twitter CEO, internet advertising poses significant risks to politics as it can influence and affect millions of lives. In contrast, Facebook decided to keep airing political advertisements, stating that ads are an essential part of voice.
Dorsey believes that the ban on political advertisements will reduce the risk posed by internet ads to civil discourse. For instance, machine learning message optimization and micro-targeting allow advertisers to target specific messages to voters. Consequently, this influences their opinion and in turn, their votes on important issues in society.
“Internet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.” read a tweet from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Additionally, the advent of deep fakes, which allow individuals to portray fake turns of events in videos, pose a threat to internet advertising. Therefore, accepting money for political advertisement complicates the war against fake messages. This is because politicians have a wide berth to say what they want on political ads.
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Facebook to air Political Ads
Earlier this month, Facebook decided to keep its political advertisements, allowing politicians to promote their messages on the platform. According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, scrapping off ads would deny a platform for advocacy groups and politicians the media shuns.
“In a democracy, I don’t think it’s right for private companies to censor politicians or the news,” Zuckerberg said. “And it’s hard to define where to draw the line. Would we block ads for important political issues like climate change or women’s empowerment?”
Political advertisements only make a small part of revenues for both companies. Facebook anticipates that political advertisement will only contribute to 0.5% of its next years’ revenues.
Nevertheless, the ban on political advertisements will not affect civic matters like call for voters.
Twitter will unveil its final policy on November 15, and enforce it on November 22.