Twitter is to ban all political advertising worldwide, saying that the reach of such messages “should be earned, not bought”.
We’ve 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 had previously implemented rules and restrictions for political advertising.
The announcement comes as Facebook is embroiled in a controversy over its decision to exempt ads by politicians from third-party factchecking and from a policy that bans false statements from paid advertisements.
Dorsey explained the motivations behind the change in a lengthy Twitter thread that appeared to include several references and responses to the convoluted arguments that Facebook has put forward in recent weeks.
The organic spread of political messages online “should not be compromised by money”, he wrote. The advanced state of digital advertising technology, including “machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting” and deepfakes – fake or manipulated videos that appear real – combined with the pollution of the online information ecosystem with misinformation, “present entirely new challenges to civic discourse”.
Hillary Clinton, the former Democratic candidate who lost to Mr Trump in the 2016 presidential election, welcomed Twitter’s ban and appeared to challenge Facebook to rethink its stance.
Social media analyst Carl Miller said it was “one of the first times a tech giant has stepped back in concern for the enormous disruptions they’re doing to the institutions that don’t move as quickly as them”.
How much impact will this have on the US election?
US federal campaigns are expected to spend about $6bn (£4.6bn) on advertising but most of it will go on TV ads, with about 20% put into digital ads, advertising research firm Kantar estimates.