Twitter is about to ban political ads. This means that politicians can no longer buy their reach to influence voters. It will also mean less fake news.
Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, just announced that Twitter will ban political ads from the end of this month, Refinery29 reports:
We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons…?
— jack ??? (@jack) October 30, 2019
The decision will see Twitter losing some money. But they are taking a stand against fake news and bought clout.
What does this mean?
Well, a few things but most importantly this: monied politicians can longer buy advertising space to influence voters anymore. Basically, political reach is no longer for sale on Twitter. This is what Twitter’s CEO has to say:
‘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.’
Why are they doing it?
So, other than leveling the playing field for politicians, why is Twitter doing this? To pump the break on fake news. As we know, misinformation and misleading information on social media are rife. So rather than fact-check every political ad for fake news, Twitter is just cancelling them altogether.
Trump is NOT happy
How did the decision go down in US politics? Uhm, the Trump administration is not happy about it. But Hillary Clinton and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez praised Twitter’s decision. Trump’s campaign manager claims that Twitter is trying to silence conservatives ahead of the election:
Twitter bans political ads in yet another attempt by the left to silence Trump and conservatives. Wouldn’t be surprised if @twitter lifted the ban after 2020.
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) October 30, 2019
Not too long ago, Twitter hid abusive tweets
Earlier this year, Twitter decided to hide abusive tweets by influential people. This included politicians and celebs. The cool thing about this is that it makes life more difficult for trolls.
Tweets that show ‘abusive behaviour’ are now hidden behind a grey veil. But you can still click through the veil and see them if you want. So, the device acts kind of like a trigger warning.
As a result, politicians and celebs can’t just spew hate onto all our timelines through retweets. Well, not without a warning notice anyway.
Will Facebook do the same thing?
Given the huge amount of fake news on Facebook, people are calling for Mark Zuckerberg to do the same thing. Currently, politicians can spread whatever messages they want in Facebook ads, including lies.
However, Zuckerberg has stuck to a free speech policy, which includes paid-for misinformation on Facebook. CNN reports that a proposal will be made to at least vet the ads that make it onto Facebook, to help prevent false info. But we’ll have to wait and see whether this will happen.
In the meantime, CNN reports that some of Facebook’s own employees wrote a letter against the policy. They wrote that ‘high-profile politicians can out-spend new voices and drown out the competition’ on Facebook.
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