Rising Questions on Twitter’s Political Ad Ban: Why did Twitter Do It?

Recently, Twitter has started to ban political ads, which means that they will no longer be sponsored tweets for political campaigns, as said by Jack Dorsey.

Apart from political speed, Twitter is also prohibiting tweets from the category of “issues” to some extent. Dorsey stated that positing sponsored political tweets on the platform is not freedom of speech but paying to get reach, which is not appropriate for a democratic world.

Even though this new policy was supported by many, but several individuals also raised confusion, debate, and uncertainty.

It is not the first time that Twitter is regulating the ads policy on the platform. In 2018, Twitter presented their policies about political campaigns and “issue ads” in the U.S.

As per the policies, the user of the accounts would have to submit their profiles for Twitter verification after which their tweets were promoted and labeled as “issue”. The “issue ads” could range from the ones referring to a particular candidate or the ones with legislative issues. Currently, several legislative issues of national importance fall under Twitter’s issue ads such as immigration, healthcare, abortion, and others.

Twitter still possesses a list of certified “issue advertisers” that sees for the policy changes. The advocacy groups include Verizon, Planned Parenthood Action and several others. Twitter has also started the “get out the vote” efforts; however, the Policy Head of Twitter has reported that the new rules will be clear and well-defined.

Besides all this brawl, there has been a major rise of concern by the news outlet on being certified. Many of the news organizations were not provided with certification due to the reason that they are only reporting an issue and not advocating for/against it.

The news outlet that wants to quality this certification must have 200,000 monthly visitors. Also, they will have to provide information about their editorial staff, they cannot advocate for a single issue and the list goes on.

Trump’s campaign manager is more worried if these new policy changes will stick. He also suggested that Twitter will still allow biased liberal media content while censoring the conservatives.

It is not sure if Twitter will also ban “issue”-focused ads by the news outlet because it can cause real trouble for them. With 2020 elections coming, covering big stories will be the first goal of all the news outlets. It is impossible to post stories with so many restrictions by the platform. With millions of users, it is very difficult to enforce such policies on a high level.

Right now, Twitter is trying hard to beat its rival Facebook due to the fact-checking news surfacing on the internet. Twitter’s ban on the political ads still looks reasonable enough for political moderation on the platform so, it is yet to see what is yet to come!

Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

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