Published: Sun, November 17, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Twitter Offers Details On Its Political Ad Ban

Twitter Offers Details On Its Political Ad Ban

The Alzheimer's Association was so concerned that it contacted Twitter this month to express misgivings about the political ads ban.

News publishers who are already exempt from Twitter's issue rules (at least 200,000 visitors in the USA, not primarily user-submitted and not focused on one issue) are allowed to advertise based on their fact-based reporting, but not to endorse candidates or banned topics. The company's chief legal executive, Vijaya Gadde, acknowledged as much on a call with reporters Friday, saying, "We're also prepared that we're going to make some mistakes and we're going to have to learn and improve this policy over time", per CNBC.

The official ban on all political ads was announced by Dorsey in a tweet on October 31 (IST).

The way Twitter will navigate the fine line between running ads about a political issue and advocating for an outcome on that issue is likely to draw scrutiny - and, if recent history is any guide, anger and claims of bias from both sides.

Nick DeSarno, the director of digital and policy communications at the Public Affairs Council, said Twitter was trying to split the difference between limiting politicians from placing ads while allowing advocacy organisations to continue raising awareness about political topics.

However, Twitter will exempt news publishers and certain "cause-based" ads run by organizations that have undergone its certification process, in an apparent attempt to address a concern raised by politicians like Sen. The policy, which goes into effect next Friday, is in stark contrast to Facebook's approach of allowing political ads, even if they contain false information. Ted Cruz about how the policy might affect issue ads. The problem is that while campaign ads from candidates are clearly political, other messages that deal with hot-button issues such as abortion, school choice and climate change may or may not cross that line. The company has defined the content as any post that has reference to the candidate, political party, elected or appointed government official, elections, referendum and judicial outcomes, among others.

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Roy Temple, a partner at digital media consultancy GPS Impact who has worked with political campaigns, called the move "a enormous cop-out" by Twitter's CEO that does not involve the loss of much revenue, and he questioned the difficulty of implementing the complicated policy.

Trying to stay ahead of spurious allegations of enabling "Russian meddling" into USA elections, Twitter has outlawed all political advertising - but left an exemption most United States legacy media, though partisan, will easily sail through.

Some super PACs and political groups said Twitter's decision disrupted the political advertising strategy and budget they had already mapped out for the 2020 election.

Twitter says it will use a combination of automated technology and human teams to enforce the new ad policies. Affiliates of Planned Parenthood added that they already struggled to get ads approved on social media and anxious about a ban.

Twitter's limitations on targeted ads will prevent advertisers from sending political messages to residents of specific ZIP codes or cities; instead, they can broadcast their content only at a state level. Zuckerberg was grilled by US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the House financial services committee on Facebook's controversial decision on not fact-check political advertisements.

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