Twitter today made the decision to ban political ads of all stripes, taking a stand in a contentious debate that plagued the internet since Facebook decided that it would not police political ads.
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 firm made its announcement by tweet today, arguing that allowing advertisers to be able to target users and influence votes was a massive social ethical responsibility, one which it was not prepared to handle at the moment — even without throwing money into the mix.
“For instance, it‘s not credible for us to say: “We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well…they can say whatever they want! ” CEO Jack Dorsey explained on Wednesday. “This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle. It’s worth stepping back in order to address.”
Facebook came under fire recently for doing exactly what Dorsey calls out here; criticizing the spread of false information while actively spreading that same falsity for its 30 silver coins. Twitter’s move demonstrates what many have observed. The only winning play, it seems, is not to get involved.