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Twitter to ban political ads worldwide, CEO Jack Dorsey announces

Twitter will stop all political advertising globally beginning next month, the tech company’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Wednesday.

The policy shift, which will be enforced beginning on November 22 and includes candidate and issue ads, comes amid growing concerns from Democrats and technologists that political advertising on social platforms like Facebook could spread misinformation or depress voter turnout ahead of the U.S. 2020 elections.

“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,” the tech mogul wrote on Twitter. “We believe this decision should not be compromised by money.”


Dorsey points out that digital political ads present a range of challenges to society, including: machine-learning based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information and deep fake videos.

The Twitter co-founder also seemed to throw shade at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — who defended his social network’s decision to allow political advertising, even if the ads contain dubious or false claims, under withering questioning in the House of Representatives last week.

“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!”

Dorsey explained: “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.”

The Trump campaign responded to Twitter’s announcement in a statement obtained by Fox News.

“Twitter just walked away from hundreds of millions of dollars of potential revenue, a very dumb decision for their stockholders. Will Twitter also be stopping ads from biased liberal media outlets who will now run unchecked as they buy obvious political content meant to attack Republicans? This is yet another attempt to silence conservatives, since Twitter knows President Trump has the most sophisticated online program ever known,” said Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager.

However, Twitter’s move was praised by at least one activist group that has long criticized the company for allowing hate speech to flourish on its platform.

“We thank Jack Dorsey for acknowledging the serious problem of political misinformation and for not-so-subtly rebuking Facebook’s reckless political ad policy. Facebook’s decision to accept money for political ads that spread falsehoods puts American Muslims, immigrants and other vulnerable communities in danger,” said Madihha Ahussain, Muslim Advocates special counsel for anti-Muslim bigotry, in a statement to Fox News.

Ahussain said the group will be monitoring how the policy is implemented and looking for any potential harmful consequences.

Twitter will share the final policy, which will include exceptions for ads that support voter registration, on November 15.


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