Twitter announces that they will no longer be running political ads on their platform

Twitter announced mid-last week that they will no longer be running political ads on their platform. “We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. This decision was based on principle, not money,” tweeted Jack Dorsey, the companies CEO. Dorsey thinks that political ads, including manipulated videos and the viral spread of misleading information, presented challenges to civic discourse, “all at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.” He worries about the “significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle”, according to the NY Times. Although this decision has been met with applause by many on the left, it has faced significant controversy from Republicans, some who think it is a partisan act designed to silence conservatives. ~

This announcement by the social media superpower comes at a time where social media companies are being heavily scrutinized by their handling of political ads. Online political ads have been a hot topic in politics since the presidential election in 2016, when Mr. Trump proved extremely successful in spreading viral online ads. How social networks can distribute and amplify misinformation and false content also came under scrutiny after the investigations into Russian influence in 2016 on the American electorate. That has since prompted debates about what ads and other content companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google should permit on their sites. ~

Twitter’s move to ban political ads puts them at odds with Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg who have recently made the decision to allow politicians to run ads, even those with false claims. Zuckerberg said that Facebook was founded to give a voice to the people and that the company stands for free expression. “In a democracy, I don’t think it’s right for private companies to censor politicians or the news,” he said. He added that he will continue to continue to evaluate whether allowing political ads on Facebook would be beneficial, but he has concluded that allowing political advertising is the right decision at this time. ~

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