Twitter to begin banning political advertisements starting November 2019

Bianca Cacciola, Reporter

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Following the fiasco of “fake news” hitting social media platforms during the 2016 presidential election, Twitter will ban political advertising on the site starting November 2019.

The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, made the announcement days after Congress and the public collectively disapproved of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to refuse fact-checks on ads that are posted to Facebook.

“While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions,” Dorsey said on Twitter.

The decision comes after many videos have been manipulated and have misled people’s opinions with information that has been stretched from the truth. These ads run on social media sites due to the companies paying for ads to be sponsored or highlighted across people’s timelines or feed.

“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,” Dorsey wrote. “We’re well aware we’re a small part of a much larger political advertising ecosystem. Some might argue our actions today could favor incumbents. But we have witnessed many social movements reach a massive scale without any political advertising. I trust this will only grow.”

This move by Twitter has divided the political world. While most Democrats have praised the new policy, such as former presidential candidate Hilary Clinton and Montana State Gov. Steve Bullock, it has been criticized by many Republicans.

“This is yet another attempt to silence conservatives since Twitter knows President Trump has the most sophisticated online program ever,” Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, said.

Contrary to Parscale’s statement regarding Twitter’s policy change, Joe Biden’s campaign deputy of communication, Bill Russo, commended the site for favoring truth over money.

“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,” Russo said.

An exception to the ban will be organizations promoting issues not directly dealing with a legislative problem. For example, ads running to raise awareness on climate change could be a part of the exception, whereas advertisements calling for a new legislative act to be enacted for climate change will not be permitted.

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