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You see facebook Twitter proves you can ban political advertising


Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Wednesday that the company would soon ban all political ads on the platform worldwide. This decision is in stark contrast to Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has spent the past few weeks defending his decision to allow political advertising of all kinds on its platform – even those that contain falsehoods.

“While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power carries significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence voices to affect the lives of millions,” Dorsey wrote in a multi-tweet- Thread that explained the decision. “Political embassy coverage should be earned, not bought.”

The new policy applies to both political candidates and advertising on political issues, but includes exceptions for things like voter registration. The company plans to release a detailed version of the policy on November 15th, which will take effect on November 22nd.

“We’re stuck between two extremes: Facebook says anything goes, and Twitter says nothing. There’s a reasonable position in the middle.”

Daniel Kreiss, UNC

Facebook, on the other hand, has tried not to be a referee in political debates by refusing to check its political ads for facts. That guideline got Zuckerberg’s enemies in Congress, who grilled him over the decision last week, and among Facebook employees, more than 250 of whom signed a letter against the guideline.

Just minutes after Dorsey’s tweets, Zuckerberg defended the company’s handling of political speeches on the conference call on Q3 earnings. Without mentioning Twitter by name, he found that rivals like Google continue to host political ads and that broadcasters are required by the FCC to broadcast them.

“I don’t think it’s right for private companies to censor political ads or the news,” Zuckerberg said. “Would we really want to block advertisements for important political issues like climate change or empowering women?”

Zuckerberg argued that political ads are an important part of free speech – an amorphous principle in the context of a private company – especially for candidates and subjects that receive less media coverage. “People who say the answer is simple haven’t thought through all of the nuances and arguments behind.”

But Facebook’s policy of allowing lies in political ads has obvious, immediate implications. When Donald Trump’s campaign ran an ad this month that sparked a false rumor about presidential candidate Joe Biden, Facebook declined to remove the ad.

It has also not always been used consistently or with obvious limits. During a tense visit to Congress last week, US MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked Zuckerberg to define the parameters of the policy. Could she pay to advertise the wrong election date in mostly black zip codes? No, said Zuckerberg; Facebook does not tolerate voter suppression, so it would remove this content. Could she run an ad on Facebook saying Republicans support the Green New Deal? Zuckerberg stumbled. “I can’t get the answer to that out of my head,” he said. “Probably?”

If Facebook has made the subject of political advertising inevitably touchy, Twitter’s politics make the answer seem silly simple. Do you want to avoid judging political speech? Do not allow the ads.

In his tweets, Dorsey wrote that challenges to bourgeois discourse – from misinformation to manipulated videos to microtargeting – only get more complex when it comes to money. “It’s not believable for us to say, ‘We work hard to stop people from playing our systems to provide misleading information, but when someone pays us to target people and force them to display their political ad see … well … you can say whatever you want! 😉 ‘“, Dorsey tweeted in a direct burst on Facebook.


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