Twitter outlined details of its new ban on political advertising weeks after its chief executive, Jack Dorsey, announced on Twitter that the platform would no longer allow political advertising, according to cNBC. However, while the company intends to clarify how the policy will be implemented, there are still some big problems.
The new changes on Twitter will prohibit politicians, such as candidates, political parties and government officials, from promoting any form of political content and advertising around the world. It will also control so-called “cause-based” advertising, which will be limited in targeted advertising and will require a certification process. The new policy will come into effect on 22 November.
The new policy comes amid a debate about whether large technology platforms should be allowed to run political ads on their websites. After Twitter condemned the practice in late October, Facebook retained its controversial policy of allowing political ads that containmisleading information. Google, meanwhile, has remained silent for most of the time, but it is reported that Google and Facebook are already under pressure to change. The conversation raised concerns about political participants’ channels for using technology companies as precise target users, information that narrows the segment and influences election results.
Twitter says political advertising is defined as “a candidate, political party, elected or appointed government official, election, referendum, voting measures, legislation, regulations, instructions or judicial results.” Ads calling for votes or financial support will be banned. The policy will also prohibit advocacy for or opposition to any such political content that would be prohibited by the policy.
This policy prohibits advertising of any kind by elected or appointed candidates, political parties or government officials. In the United States, advertising from PACs and SuperPAC as well as 501 (c)(4) or tax-exempt social welfare organizations will also be banned.
Twitter’s head of legal, policy, trust and security, Vijaya Gadde, and Del Harvey, vice president of trust and security, acknowledged in a conference call Friday that the new policy is partly flexible.
“We are moving quickly here because we think the timing is urgent,” Gadde said. He added that elections were coming. “We’re also prepared for some mistakes that we might make, and over time we’ll have to learn and improve the policy.” “
While several political advertising experts disagree entirely with Twitter’s ban on political advertising, they say precise targeting is often the real cause of the harm stoking of digital political advertising. Twitter’s new policy will limit targeting users, in line with the advice of many researchers.
Ellen Goodman, a professor at Rutgers University School of Law, previously told CNBC that targeting “precision targeting users” is “to provide advertising or content for these segments, personalize them, and exploit vulnerabilities.” Twitter’s new policy states that cause-based ads cannot target postal codes or specific audiences and must not contain terms related to prohibited advertisers or political content or affiliations.
Twitter may face similar problems to Facebook by setting new rules for its causal-based ads. Twitter has established an existing certification process for advertisers who want to run ads that are relevant to candidates, elections and specific laws.
In response to a question about whether Twitter would take action on ads with false information, Harvey said the company often sees public conversations about fake posts on Twitter. By becoming an open platform, she says, people can be held accountable by other users. She added that Twitter was trying to avoid isolating conversations on certain topics.
It’s unclear whether Twitter will publish a list of categories that will be considered “cause-based ads.”
Twitter’s new policy includes warnings to news publishers that are no longer subject to the company’s advertising policy. Publishers can advertise on the basis of fact-based reports, but cannot buy ads that advocate supporting or opposing political candidates or any other prohibited topics. For example, publishers may not publish political endorsements as advertisements.
On a conference call with reporters, Harvey said publishers must already meet Twitter standards to be considered exempt. State-run media, for example, have been banned from advertising on Twitter. To comply with the exemption criteria in Twitter’s problem advertising policy, publishers must obtain at least 200,000 unique monthly visitors in the U.S. that are not primarily generated by users and are not committed to advocating individual issues, among other factors.
Twitter has become a target for conservative lawmakers, who claim that the company’s content censorship methods are influenced by political bias. Twitter’s decision stousan publishers can run and who can run will come under intense scrutiny from its users and lawmakers.