Twitter will refuse all political ads from next month

Twitter bans all political ads. Politicians will no longer be able to advertise on the platform in the future, the company says. The social network believes that politicians should not be able to buy the reach of their message, but should obtain it organically.

The decision was announced by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a series of tweets. “We believe the reach of a political message should be earned, not bought,” he writes. “A post gets big because people decide to share it or follow an account. That decision shouldn’t be influenced by money.” Certain advertisements are still allowed, according to Dorsey. As an example, he mentions advertisements calling on people to vote. The new rules will come into effect on November 22. Twitter will make the full policy public on Nov. 15, Dorsey said.

Dorsey says the rules don’t just apply to political candidate advertisements, but to all political issues. This can also be, for example, advertisements from groups that advertise specific legislation. “We considered only blocking candidate ads, but with ads about issues that can be circumvented,” Dorsey writes. “In addition, it’s not fair that anyone can create ads based on such issues, but that political candidates couldn’t.” Dorsey also says more regulation is needed for political advertising. He does not make clear whether he means political measures, or from the industry or specifically on Twitter. “Ad transparency is a step forward, but not enough. The internet offers many opportunities, and policymakers need to look ahead to ensure a level playing field.”

In his tweets, Dorsey also says that it is “not credible” that Twitter does try to prevent misinformation, but that suddenly it is not a problem when someone pays for an ad. Although Dorsey does not mention Facebook by name, it seems to be a direct sneer at that competitor. Facebook has come under considerable political fire in recent months because the company decided not to fact-check political advertisements. This would allow politicians to lie in advertisements without Facebook removing or labeling such posts as fake. Facebook employees then wrote a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticizing that policy. However, Facebook remains behind that policy, according to an op-ed in USA Today.