Twitter bans political ads


Geoff Livingston

Jack Dorsey watches as former president Barack Obama as he makes his first Presidential Tweet. Taken July 6th, 2011.

Madison Maddox, Ranger Review Reporter

On Wednesday, October 30th, Twitter made the decision to ban all political ads for the 2020 election.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, does not want false political information going around on the app, which is why they have chosen to ban it. Other social media apps were bound to have other opinions on the matter. 

For example, Mark Zuckerburg, CEO of Facebook, felt opposed. Zuckerburg felt that politicians should have a voice and should be able to express themselves through social media.

“Political speech is important,” Mark Zukerburg said. Mark Zuckerburg agreed with his company completely about their decision to run unchecked political ads and said that the choice was not financially motivated. He claims that he chose this because political ads make up half of a percent of Facebook earnings. 

“This is complex stuff. Anyone who says the answer is simple hasn’t thought about the nuances and downstream challenges. I don’t think anyone can say that we are not doing what we believe or we haven’t thought hard about these issues,” Zuckerburg said.

Facebook was recently fined $5 billion for privacy violations by the Federal Trade Commission. 

Trump’s campaign managers had something to say on Twitter’s decision. “This is yet another attempt to silence conservatives since Twitter knows President Trump has the most sophisticated online program ever,“ Brad Pascale said.

The campaign for former Vice President Joe Biden was reported saying that the decision was “unfortunate” that Twitter thinks the only option is to ban the ads altogether. “When faced with a choice between ad dollars and the integrity of our democracy, it is encouraging that, for once, revenue did not win out,” Bill Russo, deputy communications director for Joe Biden’s campaign said.

Political advertising only makes up a small number of earnings for Twitter. It was said that political ad spending for the 2018 midterm election was less than $3 million. Politicians spend a plethora of more money on ads for Facebook than Twitter.

Many have agreed with Twitter’s decision based off of an issue that happened in September. Twitter, Facebook, and Google refused to take down a video with facts that were misleading. The video of President Donald Trump’s campaign targeted Joe Biden specifically.

Dorsey claims that advertising on social media offers an unfair level of targeting compared to other bureaus. 

“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,” Jack Dorsey said.