Twitter to ban political ads, bowing to pressure on social media companies


(Reuters) – Twitter Inc will ban political advertising on its platform next month, the company’s chief executive said on Wednesday, as social media platforms face pressure to block attempts to steer elections with false information. 

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

Social media companies, including Twitter rival Facebook Inc face growing pressure to stop selling ads that spread inaccurate information. 

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

But Facebook 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. 

Earlier this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the company’s policy, saying it did not want to stifle political speech. 

Twitter’s ban takes effect starting Nov. 22. Dorsey wrote on Twitter that paying for ads forces “targeted political messages on people” with a power that “brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions.”

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