Why Twitter Is Banning Political Ads

The power of social media is quite evident in this day and age.

We all know the influence social media has on most people in this era. Facebook was recently under attack for allowing sponsored political adverts to marginalize certain groups of people. A lot of information is passed around and Twitter happens to be the most important platform where political influencers and people interested in politics share their sentiments.

Should politics be advertised on social media?

Well, the debate has been there for some time now but no real decision has been made until now. Twitter announced that they have banned all political ads on it’s platform in order to distance itself from such concerns.

Here’s what they said: 

Is this a good move?

The whole point of this move is to make sure that politicians earn their audience based on what they post on social media rather than paying for it. What does paying for an ad on social media entail? It would mean that it would be specifically targeted to certain groups of people since it would be highly optimized which would also be unfair to people who can not afford to put more money in their social media ads as well.

“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.”

The reality is that social media advertising is used to influence millions of people.

Currently Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was in trouble for allowing political advertisements on his platforms, both Instagram and Facebook. He claimed that people should have the freedom of speech and the right to say whatever they want in their ads, from there people should be able to choose what they want to believe and to debate the topics given.

However Twitter’s CEO Dorsey said:

“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. These challenges will affect ALL internet communication, not just political ads. Best to focus our efforts on the root problems, without the additional burden and complexity taking money brings. Trying to fix both means fixing neither well, and harms our credibility.”

The two CEO’s have very different ideologies when it comes to political advertising.

On one hand, social media is still a business that has to be run and has to do well, however, on the other hand where do ethics come in? Where is the integrity that social media is actually meant to have just as we have media rules and ethics for traditional media? We have all freedom of speech but what can these speeches do and how can they affect other people? We currently don’t have enough guidelines that really control what is spread out there. What do you think?