Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey just stated, via a tweet, that Twitter will be forbidding all political advertising, albeit with “a few exceptions” like voter registrants.
Dorsey said that they think political message reach should be gained, not purchased.
The Cover Policy
While it is not entirely clear how deep those exceptions will be, it seems like the prohibition will apply to both ads promoting candidates and ads defending a position on political matters.
Dorsey said the company would reveal the conclusive policy by November 15, and that it will begin enforcing that policy on November 22.
A cover policy can also help Twitter dodge the headache and controversy of making these decisions of accuracy on a case-by-case basis.
Facebook Urges This Move
This comes following Facebook, in particular, has suffered substantial critique around its unwillingness to fact-check political advertising.
The company took measures to fight election-related misinformation elsewhere, with Facebook workers writing an open letter opposing the company’s stance.
At the same point, one of the ads that provoked the recent controversy in which the Trump campaign encouraged a conspiracy theory about Joe Biden also appeared on YouTube and Twitter and even on some TV networks, although CNN declined to air it.
Therefore, even though the conversation has centered on Facebook, the broader questions of permissiveness and efficiency are the ones that all major internet platforms have to suffer.
The thought that Facebook should forbid all political ads is a resolution that’s been floated by several scholars, including our own Josh Constine.
Before today, that may have looked like an exaggerated or unreliable step.
Dorsey did not mention Facebook by name in his tweets, but he appeared to allude to the company’s situation.
It is also fascinating that Twitter decided to announce this just as Facebook published its newest earnings report.
When Will The Prohibition Start?
Across the summer, Twitter said it would begin preventing state-run media breaks from running ads on its platform.
This is after it recognized an operation to “broadcast political discord” around the rallies in Hong Kong, which included hundreds of accounts associated with the Chinese government.
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