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: 333180

Reported Deaths: 7502
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22901279
Hinds22780438
Harrison19569326
Rankin14851287
Jackson14342251
Madison10692227
Lee10437179
Jones8746169
Forrest8210157
Lauderdale7561243
Lowndes6790150
Lamar669688
Lafayette6459124
Washington5516139
Pearl River4915149
Bolivar4909134
Oktibbeha478498
Panola4723112
Marshall4654106
Warren4640127
Pontotoc440473
Monroe4255137
Union425379
Neshoba4182180
Lincoln4098115
Hancock405088
Leflore3565125
Pike3530112
Tate349588
Alcorn343974
Sunflower343093
Adams333387
Scott331775
Yazoo331173
Simpson314890
Copiah313867
Itawamba310180
Coahoma308785
Tippah298868
Prentiss292963
Covington282483
Marion279580
Leake278475
Wayne270743
Grenada266388
George261651
Newton256664
Tishomingo236869
Winston235584
Jasper226148
Attala220873
Chickasaw216360
Stone210237
Holmes195674
Clay192254
Clarke182080
Tallahatchie181742
Calhoun177532
Smith175935
Yalobusha169440
Walthall141548
Lawrence137726
Greene135734
Amite132843
Noxubee131635
Perry131038
Montgomery130944
Carroll124531
Webster117532
Jefferson Davis113334
Tunica111127
Benton104625
Claiborne104331
Kemper100729
Humphreys99133
Franklin85923
Quitman83519
Choctaw81319
Wilkinson74632
Jefferson69728
Sharkey51518
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 569131

Reported Deaths: 11483
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson831881584
Mobile45534855
Madison36714532
Tuscaloosa26717465
Shelby26527255
Montgomery25707624
Baldwin23668325
Lee16753181
Calhoun15107332
Morgan14916289
Etowah14637368
Marshall12786235
Houston11462292
Elmore10636217
St. Clair10500251
Limestone10468158
Cullman10236204
Lauderdale9968253
DeKalb9278191
Talladega8721187
Walker7581286
Autauga7402113
Jackson7263117
Blount7182139
Colbert6577142
Coffee6024131
Dale5307117
Russell465542
Chilton4630117
Covington4555125
Franklin442081
Tallapoosa4372157
Escambia419182
Chambers3842125
Dallas3687163
Clarke364262
Marion3378106
Pike324279
Lawrence3188101
Winston290772
Bibb279565
Geneva270983
Marengo258367
Barbour243161
Pickens239162
Butler235672
Hale231678
Fayette224364
Henry204845
Randolph194244
Cherokee193848
Monroe191841
Washington176239
Macon167252
Crenshaw163958
Clay162159
Cleburne159045
Lamar149438
Lowndes144254
Wilcox129131
Bullock125642
Conecuh118030
Coosa115829
Perry109728
Sumter108032
Greene97336
Choctaw63825
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