Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said on 30th October 2019 that the company has decided to ban all political advertising on its platform by mid-november. It won Democrats praise and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
In a statement, Dorsey said, “We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.”
The ban will come into effect from 22nd November 2019. But analysts do not want this ban as it will reduce the business of Twitter. Also, there was a fall of 1.9 percent shares in “after-hours trading”.
Social media companies, including Twitter and its rival Facebook are facing growing pressure to stop carrying ads that spread false information that could steer elections.
Facebook has pledged to address the misinformation after it saw Russian propaganda on the platform influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, won by Republican Trump.
But Facebook chose not to control ads run by politicians based on Democratic candidates in the 2020 presidential election, such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
In an emailed sentence for the Biden campaign, Bill Russo, deputy communications director said “We appreciate that Twitter recognizes that they should not permit disproven smears, like those from the Trump campaign, to appear in advertisements on their platform”.
Biden is facing unproven Trump attacks on his son Hunter’s foreign business dealings.
Russo said “It would be unfortunate to suggest that the only option available to social media companies to do so is the full withdrawal of political advertising, but 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”.
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Brad Parscale, who runs Trump’s re-election campaign, described Twitter’s move as “an attempt to silence conservatives” and a “very stupid decision” for the shareholders of the company.
In a statement, Parscale said “Will Twitter also be stopping ads from biased liberal media outlets who will now run unchecked as they buy obvious political content meant to attack Republicans”.
He further added “This is yet another attempt to silence conservatives, since Twitter knows President Trump has the most sophisticated online program ever known.”
A spokesman of Twitter refused to comment anything on this matter.
In early October, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the company’s policy, saying he didn’t want to stifle a political speech.
Dorsey tweeted: “Paying for ads forces targeted political messages on people with a power that brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions.”
He further added, “It was not credible for Twitter to say it was trying to stop the spread of misleading information but if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well…they can say whatever they want!”
A senior analyst for research company eMarketer, Jasmine Enberg said “Twitter’s decision is in stark contrast to Facebook”. He also added “political advertising is not likely a critical part of its business”.
She said “And, given the nature of the platform, people, publishers and politicians will still use Twitter to discuss politics organically, meaning that it won’t fully solve the problem of misinformation”.
David Herrmann, president of Los Angeles-based independent media buyer Hermann Digital LLC, which deals with direct consumer brands, said he disagreed with the idea of banning political advertising on any network, including Twitter.
He tweeted “Banning political ads doesn’t hurt presidential campaigns, it hurts local politics that are dependent on reach from paid ads”.
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