Twitter details political ad ban, admits it is imperfect

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California, Nov. 17 (BNA): Twitter’s new ban on political ads will cover appeals for votes, solicitations for campaign contributions and any political content. But the company quickly acknowledged Friday that it expects to make mistakes as individuals and groups look for loopholes.

Twitter is defining political content to include any ad that references a candidate, political party, government official, ballot measure, or legislative or judicial outcome. The ban also applies to all ads — even non-political ones — from candidates, political parties and elected or appointed government officials, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

However, Twitter is allowing ads related to social causes such as climate change, gun control and abortion. People and groups running such ads will not be able to target those ads down to a user’s ZIP code or use political categories such as “conservative” or “liberal.” Rather, targeting must be kept broad, based on a user’s state or province, for instance.

According to AP,Twitter announced its worldwide ban on political ads Oct. 30, but did not release details until Friday. The policy, which goes into effect next Friday, is in stark contrast to Facebook’s approach of allowing political ads, even if they contain false information. Facebook has said it wants to provide politicians with a “level playing field” for communication and not intervene when they speak, regardless of what they are saying.

Political advertising makes up a small sliver of Twitter’s overall revenue. The company does not break out specific figures each quarter, but said political ad spending for the 2018 midterm election was less than $3 million. It reported $824 million in third-quarter revenue.

 

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