Twitter is taking a stand when it comes to misinformation on its platform, announcing the microblogging Website operator will no longer allow any political advertising on its platform starting later in November.
In a series of tweets, Twitter co-founder and Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said "political message reach should be earned, not bought," and then when into a series of reasons why that's true. According to Dorsey the way to earn reach is when people follow an account or retweet not see an ad.
Twitter can't be bought, at least from politicians
By paying for that reach, it removes that decision "forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people," he wrote.
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
In an apparent jab at rival Facebook, which is facing considerable backlash after its CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social media giant would run fake political ads on its platform, Dorsey said user's decisions to follow or retweet a politician "should not be compromised by money." Dorsey noted that while Internet advertising is powerful and effective in reaching consumers, that same power brings risk to politics if it is used to influence votes that ultimately impact millions of people.
"Internet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale," Dorsey wrote. "These challenges will affect ALL internet communication, not just political ads. Best to focus our efforts on the root problems, without the additional burden and complexity taking money brings. Trying to fix both means fixing neither well, and harms our credibility."
Rule goes on the books 22 November
Dorsey argued it's not credible for Twitter to say its working hard to stop people from spreading misinformation on the platform but then force users to see a political ad just because someone paid the company. Twitter had look at just stopping candidate ads on Twitter but figured people would get around it so it's stopping them altogether. Dorsey also called for more "forward-looking" political ad regulation and said the company will share its final policy on the matter on 15 November. The new policy will be enforced as of 22 November.
"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," wrote Dorsey.