Twitter bans political advertising

(Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, courtesy Getty Images)

With a presidential election looming in 2020 and talk of impeachment happening right now, as well as an ongoing debate over free speech and politics on social media, the CEO of Twitter has said the company will no longer accept political ads.

“We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, in a tweetstorm Wednesday.

“A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money,” Dorsey continued.

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This decision by Twitter separates itself from other companies like Facebook which has resisted the push to stop taking political ads. Facebook is currently in a debate over the spread of misinformation through ads from political campaigns.

The social media company has reiterated it does not think it should be the gatekeeper of political speech. When Mark Zuckerberg recently testified on Capitol Hill, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked him if she could “run advertisements on Facebook targeting Republicans in primaries saying that they voted for the Green New Deal?”

“Probably” was one of Zuckerberg responses.

According to CNBC, the business impact is minimal. Their report says, Facebook and Twitter claim political advertising only makes up a tiny fraction of their overall advertising revenues. (Twitter CFO Ned Segal tweeted Wednesday that the company only booked $3 million in political ad revenue during the 2018 U.S. midterm elections, for example.)

According to Dorsey, the ban will go into place in November.