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Political advertising on Twitter will be banned, announced CEO Jack Dorsey

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From the end of next month, Twitter will stop all political ads on its social media platform, founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Wednesday. “Political message reach should be earned, not bought,” Dorsey said in a series of tweets.

“A political message gains reach when people choose to follow or retweet an account. Paying for reach eliminates that decision and forces people to use highly optimized and targeted political messages. We believe this decision shouldn’t be compromised by money, ”he said.

“While Internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power carries significant political risks,” added Dorsey.

We have decided to stop all political advertising on Twitter worldwide. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A couple of reasons … 🧵

– jack 🌍🌏🌎 (@jack) October 30, 2019

Political internet advertising poses completely new challenges for the bourgeois discourse: machine learning optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information and deep fakes. All with increasing speed, sophistication and overwhelming size.

– jack 🌍🌏🌎 (@jack) October 30, 2019

The political advertising ban comes into effect on November 22nd, with a few exceptions such as B. Advertising that encourages voter registration.

The company defines a political ad as advertising that relates to an election or candidate, or speaks for or against “legislative issues of national concern” such as climate change, healthcare, immigration or taxes, said Twitter executive Vijaya Gadde. A detailed policy will be in place by November 15, Dorsey said.

“A way to look good”

Twitter’s policy is in sharp contrast to competitor Facebook, which has come under fire for its decision to allow lies in political ads. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has defended this policywhich states that banning such advertisements is tantamount to censorship.

“In a democracy, I don’t think it’s right for private companies to censor politicians and news,” Zuckerberg said in a call to investors less than an hour after Twitter announced its new policy.

Dorsey hit his rival on Wednesday, writing, “This is not about free speech. It’s about paying for reach. ”


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While Twitter gets most of its revenue from ads, it rules a little over 1% of the U.S. digital advertising market, according to eMarketer. The company sold less than $ 3 million in political advertising during the 2018 election, the company said to analysts last week.

“[I]It is likely that political advertising is not a critical part of Twitter’s core business, “said Jasmine Enberg, senior analyst at eMarketer Politics, organically, which means she will not fully resolve the misinformation problem.”

Because Twitter is so closely related to news and politics, commenting on political ads would improve its standing with its users at no financial cost.

“It’s a way to look good without taking any financial risk to the company,” Wired editor-in-chief Nick Thompson told CBS News. “It’s a free booth for something that most of the people who use Twitter love.”

Partisan divisions

Brad Parscale, campaign manager for President Trump’s 2020 campaign, sharply criticized the move. “Twitter has just left hundreds of millions of dollars of potential revenue behind it, a very stupid decision for its shareholders,” Parscale said in a statement on Twitter, adding, “This is another attempt to silence conservatives as Twitter knows that President Trump was the most sophisticated online program ever known. “

Another senior Trump campaign official told reporters that the campaign didn’t spend a lot of money on Twitter, but plans to increase its spending to “seven or eight figures.”

Several Democrats praised Twitter, and Virginia Senator Mark Warner told reporters Wednesday that he hoped Facebook and YouTube would follow the company’s lead.


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The change came as a surprise to some actors in politics. A Democratic presidential campaign adviser told CBS News, “Twitter didn’t tell anyone it would.

Twitter currently only allows certified campaigns and organizations to run political ads for candidates and topics. The latter tend to advocate broader issues such as climate change, abortion law, and immigration.

According to research firm Kantar, national political campaigns are expected to spend most of their advertising spend on broadcast and cable channels during the 2020 election cycle, with about 20% of the total $ 6 billion spent on digital advertising.

Grace Segers contributed to the coverage. With coverage from The Associated Press.

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