Twitter will no longer allow political advertising on their platform, co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Wednesday.
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“We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” Dorsey tweeted, along with a number of additional tweets explaining the reasons why.
“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 wrote. “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.”
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“We considered stopping only candidate ads, but issue ads present a way to circumvent. Additionally, it isn’t fair for everyone but candidates to buy ads for issues they want to push. So we’re stopping these too,” Dorsey added.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign team responded to the news.
“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,” said Bill Russo, the Biden campaign’s deputy communications director in a statement. “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.”
Another Democratic hopeful, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, reacted to Twitter’s announcement by tweeting, “Good. Your turn, Facebook.”
Trump campaign manager, Brad Parscale, slammed Twitter’s decision, saying in a statement, “Twitter just walked away from hundreds of millions of dollars of potential revenue, a very dumb decision for their stockholders. 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? This is yet another attempt to silence conservatives, since Twitter knows President Trump has the most sophisticated online program ever known.”
But the effect of Twitter’s move might not be as impactful as if Facebook followed suit. For example, while the Trump campaign is spending $15.6 million on Facebook ads and $9.1 million on Google ads since January, they have only spent $6,300 on Twitter ads.
Trump campaign communications director, Tim Murtaugh, told ABC News that the campaign planned to spend “many” millions over the next 12 months on the platform, after shutting down their Twitter ads back in August.
Twitter CFO Ned Segal also acknowledged on on Twitter, “political ad spend for the 2018 US midterms was