Twitter To Ban Political Ads

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Twitter Inc will ban political advertising on its platform next month, the company’s chief executive said on Wednesday, a move that won praise from Democrats and scorn from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a statement.

Analysts do not expect the ban, which takes effect on Nov. 22, to significantly reduce Twitter’s business. Its shares fell 1.9% in after-hours trading.

Social media companies, including Twitter rival Facebook Inc (FB.O) face growing pressure to stop carrying ads that spread false information that could steer elections.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg opened his earnings conference call on Wednesday by defending the company’s policy to run ads from politicians containing false or misleading claims, saying that Facebook did not want to stifle political speech.

The company confirmed to Reuters on Monday that some employees had criticized its policy in an internal letter. Zuckerberg estimated ads from politicians would account for under 0.5% of Facebook’s revenue next year.

“I expect that this is going to be a very tough year,” he said, adding that controversies over political content could lead to investigations. Facebook reported its third straight rise in quarterly sales growth on Wednesday, beating analysts’ average estimate.

Facebook has pledged efforts to deal with misinformation after Russian propaganda on the platform was seen to affect the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which was won by Trump, a Republican.

But the social media giant made a decision to not fact-check ads run by politicians, drawing ire from Democratic candidates running in the 2020 presidential election such as former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“We appreciate that Twitter recognizes that they should not permit disproven smears, like those from the Trump campaign, to appear in advertisements on their platform,” said Bill Russo, deputy communications director for the Biden campaign, in an emailed statement.

Source: Reuters

Samson Oyedeyi

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