Twitter Banning Most Political Ads

Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) will ban campaign advertising globally under a new policy being implemented next week. Under the policy, ads of any type from political figures and groups are not allowed and strict limits will apply to other types of paid messaging that has a political dimension. The policy is set to go into effect Nov. 22.

Under the new rules, all ads that mention specific candidates, elections, or legislation are prohibited. Campaigns, government officials, political action committees, and 501(c)(4) nonprofit groups will not be allowed to advertise on the platform. News publishers will be granted an exemption to run ads on political topics, but they won’t be allowed to advocate for a particular political outcome.

The rules also include significant new restrictions on “issue ads” that deal with topics such as economic growth, climate change, or abortion. For-profit organizations running issue ads must now ensure that the ads reflect the organizations’ “publicly stated values, principles, and/or beliefs,” and the ads cannot call for particular political outcomes. Twitter will not allow the groups and individuals placing issue ads to target particular demographic groups or zip codes.

Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal, policy and trust and safety, made it clear that the Twitter policy may change or be adapted over time. She said in her statement, “We’re moving really quickly here because we think the timing is urgent and we want to make sure were addressing the risk we see in upcoming elections as quickly as possible.” She also said that more details would be rolled out over time.

Twitter’s ban comes as social media platforms in the United States have come under intense scrutiny over their handling of political ads. Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey had previewed the policy last month in a series of tweets. Many conservatives and some liberals have criticized the company’s move as restricting free speech. Facebook has rejected calls to enact a similar ban.