Twitter, Inc. announced recently that it is banning political ads on its platform starting November 22, 2019. The company CEO's, Jack Dorsey, announcement in middle of this week won commendations from Democrats and scorn from the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Relatively, Dorsey said in a statement that the company officials had decided to prevent all kinds of political advertising on Twitter worldwide.
An article Reuters posted recently stated that analysts are not expecting the ban to reduce the business of Twitter considerably. Its shares fell though, according to the reputable online news site, "in after-hours trading." Social media networks, which include Twitter competitor, Facebook, face increasing pressure to end carrying ads believed to be spreading deceitful information that could steer the polls.
FB Contradicting Twitter's Take on Political Ads
Facebook has sworn to take initiatives in dealing with false information after the appearance of the Russian propaganda on its platform that impacted the results of the 2016 American presidential elections, where Trump, a Republican, won. Despite this pledge, FB decided, though, to not fact-check political ads which draw ire from Democratic candidates who are vying for the highest-ranking position in the 2020 presidential election. Examples of these candidates are Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Joe Biden.
In response to Twitter's move, deputy communications director for the campaign of Biden, Bill Russo, said via an email, "We appreciate that Twitter acknowledges that they should not allow disproven smears," like those from the campaign of Trump, to be in the ads on their platform. Incidentally, Biden has encountered attacks from the current U.S. president, offered without any proof, about the overseas business transactions of his son, Hunter.
Silencing the Conservatives?
Brad Parscale, the person behind the re-election campaign of Trump, said Twitter's move is an effort to silence the conservatives, not to mention a dumb decision of the shareholders of the company. Pascale goes on questioning Twitter if it is also stopping advertisements from one-sided liberal media organizations that will now "run unchecked as they buy obvious political content" intended to attack the republicans. A spokesman for Twitter did not give an immediate reply to the question.
In early October, Mark Zuckerberg, FB CEO, defended the policy of the company saying it did not want to smother political speech. As for Twitter, regarding the issue, Dorsey stated that paying for advertisements forces targeted political-based messages on people with the control that brings remarkable risks to politics. He also said that it was not reliable for Twitter to claim that it was attempting to put a stop to the widespread of untruthful information. More so, political analysts believe that banning political ads won't hurt any presidential campaign. Instead, it hurts the local politics that are reliant on paid ads.