Twitter will ban political ads, Jack Dorsey announces

Twitter will stop accepting political ads, the company's CEO, Jack Dorsey, announced Wednesday."We've made the decision to stop all political advertis...

Posted: Oct 30, 2019 3:45 PM
Updated: Oct 31, 2019 11:45 AM

Twitter will stop accepting political ads, the company's CEO, Jack Dorsey, announced Wednesday.

'We've made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,' Dorsey tweeted.

'A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money,' he added.

Twitter's chief financial officer, Ned Segal, tweeted Wednesday that the company made less than $3 million from political ads in the 2018 cycle.

'This decision was based on principle, not money,' he said.

The announcement comes amid intense scrutiny of Silicon Valley's handling of political ads. Social media companies, particularly Facebook, have been criticized for allowing politicians to run false ads.

Dorsey's comments puts him at odds with senior Facebook executives, including Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, who have vigorously defended Facebook's policy of not fact-checking political ads.

Zuckerberg reiterated his stance on political advertising on Wednesday, highlighting how Facebook and Twitter have diverged.

Without directly addressing Dorsey's announcement, Zuckerberg opened Facebook's third quarter earnings call by saying 'we need to be careful about adopting more and more rules' surrounding political speech.

'In a democracy, I don't think it's right for private companies to censor politicians or the news,' he said. Zuckerberg added that he will 'continue' to evaluate whether it is beneficial to allow political ads on Facebook, but that so far he has concluded that permitting political advertising is the better choice.

Political advertising will account for less than 0.5 percent of next year's revenue, Zuckerberg said on the call, suggesting that despite the media controversy over Facebook's policies, the company benefits little financially from the stance. On Wednesday, Facebook reported quarterly advertising revenues of $17.38 billion, up 28 percent over the same period last year.

In a speech in Washington D.C. earlier this month, Zuckerberg said, 'Given the sensitivity around political ads, I've considered whether we should stop allowing them altogether. From a business perspective, the controversy certainly isn't worth the small part of our business they make up. But political ads are an important part of voice — especially for local candidates, up-and-coming challengers, and advocacy groups that may not get much media attention otherwise. Banning political ads favors incumbents and whoever the media covers.'

Some of Facebook's own employees took issue with that reasoning in a letter sent to Zuckerberg and other company leaders that was reported by The New York Times earlier this week. They wrote, 'high-profile politicians can out-spend new voices and drown out the competition' on the platform.

Political candidates were quick to jump on the Twitter news.

'When faced with a choice between ad dollars and the integrity of our democracy, it is encouraging that, for once, revenue did not win out,' said Bill Russo, a spokesman for Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign. Earlier this month, Biden's presidential campaign wrote to Twitter and other social media companies asking them to stop running an ad that falsely accused Biden of corruption over his role in Ukraine policy during the Obama administration.

Brad Parscale, President Trump's campaign manager, called Twitter's move 'a very dumb decision for their stockholders.'

'This is yet another attempt to silence conservatives,' he said in a statement, 'since Twitter knows President Trump has the most sophisticated online program ever known.'

In a lengthy series of tweets about Twitter's decision, Dorsey said that 'while internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions.'

'Internet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.'

Dorsey said Twitter will also stop running issue ads, which Twitter characterizes as ads that 'advocate for or against legislative issues of national importance.'

In his speech in Washington, Zuckerberg cited issue ads as another reason not to ban poltiical ads, 'Even if we wanted to ban political ads, it's not clear where we'd draw the line. There are many more ads about issues than there are directly about elections. Would we ban all ads about healthcare or immigration or women's empowerment?'

Dorsey said the company would share more details about the policy on November 15th and would stop accepting political ads on November 22nd.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20772248
Hinds19888408
Harrison17489302
Rankin13311275
Jackson13097243
Madison9895210
Lee9856169
Jones8290160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7187237
Lowndes6262144
Lamar610584
Lafayette6027117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4419139
Warren4280118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403675
Neshoba3987176
Lincoln3869108
Hancock372085
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3180104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265779
Wayne261341
Leake261073
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120041
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81823
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
Etowah13662345
Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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