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.