Twitter details political ads ban, issue ads allowed


Twitter says its new ban on political ads will cover appeals for votes, solicitations for campaign
contributions and any political content.
Twitter is defining political content to include any ad that references a candidate, political party,
government official, ballot measure, or legislative or judicial outcome. The ban also applies to all ads
— even non-political ones — from candidates, political parties and elected or appointed government
However, Twitter is allowing ads related to social causes such as climate change, gun control and
abortion. People and groups running such ads won’t be able to target those ads down to a user’s ZIP code
or use political categories such as “conservative” or “liberal.” Rather, targeting must be kept broad,
such as based on a user’s state or province.
News organizations will be exempt so they can promote stories that cover political issues.
Twitter announced its ban on political ads last month, but didn’t release details until Friday. The
policy is in stark contrast to Facebook’s approach of allowing political ads, even if they contain false
information. Facebook has said it wants to provide politicians with a "level playing field"
for communication and not intervene when they speak, regardless of what they’re saying.
Response to Twitter’s ban has been strong and mixed, with critics questioning the company’s ability to
enforce the new policy given its poor history banning hate speech and abuse from its service. The
company acknowledges it will make mistakes but says it’s better to start addressing the issue now rather
than wait until all the kinks are worked out.
Political advertising makes up a small sliver of Twitter’s overall revenue. The company does not break
out specific figures each quarter, but said political ad spending for the 2018 midterm election was less
than $3 million. It reported $824 million in third-quarter revenue.
Twitter and Facebook already take steps to prevent political manipulation by verifying the identities of
political advertisers — measures prompted by the furor over Moscow’s interference. But the verifying
systems, which rely on both humans and automated systems, have not been perfect.

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