Twitter to ban political ads next month ahead of 2020 US Elections: CEO Jack Dorsey

This comes when Facebook is facing growing pressure to stop selling ads that spread inaccurate information.


While Facebook stands firm on its decision to not fact-check ads run by politicians, Twitter will ban political advertising on its platform next month, the company's chief executive said on Wednesday, as social media platforms face pressure to block attempts to steer elections with false information.

"We've made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally," said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a statement. "We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought."

Social media companies, including Twitter rival Facebook Inc face growing pressure to stop selling ads that spread inaccurate information.

 Twitter to ban political ads next month ahead of 2020 US Elections: CEO Jack Dorsey

Image: Reuters

Dorsey pointed out that "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."

In the Twitter thread, the platform chief also took a subtle jab at Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg's statement at the recent hearing before US Congress, saying that you can't claim that you are working on stopping misinformation from spreading on your platform when you are ready to allow any ad to be run on your platform if the publishers pays you for it.

Facebook has pledged efforts to deal with misinformation on its platform after Russian propaganda on that platform before the 2016 US presidential election was seen to affect the outcome of that race, which was won by Donald Trump.

Concluding the thread, Dorsey said that the political ads on social media platforms are not about free expression but about "paying to increase the reach of political speech", which can have significant ramifications that "today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle."

But Facebook made a decision to not fact-check ads run by politicians, drawing ire from Democratic candidates running in the 2020 presidential election such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Earlier this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the company's policy, saying it did not want to stifle political speech.

Twitter's ban takes effect starting 22 November. Dorsey wrote on Twitter that 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."

With inputs from Reuters

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