Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Thursday said that the microblogging platform would stop all political advertising globally, becoming the first mainstream social media company to do so.
In a series of tweets, Dorsey explained the reasons for the decision. Saying that internet advertising was “incredibly powerful” and effective for commercial advertisers, it posed “significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions”.
Political ads on social media platforms have been a growing cause for concern globally, especially since reports of foreign interference in the 2016 US Presidential elections surfaced.
“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,” said Dorsey.
Dorsey said the company would share the final policy by November 15, and will start enforcing it from November 22 to provide current advertisers a notice period before the change goes into effect.
Among the biggest platforms for political ad spending, companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google have made efforts to bring transparency to the process by releasing political ad spending data globally, including in India’s general elections this year.
“In addition, we need more forward-looking political ad regulation (very difficult to do). Ad transparency requirements are progress, but not enough. The internet provides entirely new capabilities, and regulators need to think past the present day to ensure a level playing field,” Dorsey added.
India has also been struggling to deal with political ad issue in recent times. The government has also, in an ongoing case, been asked to frame rules for social media firms.
Dorsey's tweets found a lot of support on Twitter, and several Twitter users tagged Facebook in replies to Dorsey’s tweets.