Twitter will ban all political advertising, the company’s CEO has announced, in a move that will increase pressure on Facebook over its controversial stance to allow politicians to advertise false statements. The new policy, announced via Jack Dorsey’s Twitter account on Wednesday, will come into effect on 22 November and will apply globally to all electioneering ads, as well as ads related to political issues. The timing means the ban will be in place in time for the UK snap election.

 

The announcement comes as Facebook is embroiled in a controversy over its decision to exempt ads by politicians from third-party factchecking and from a policy that bans false statements from paid advertisements. Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, called Twitter’s decision “another attempt by the left to silence Trump and conservatives” while Hillary Clinton called it “the right thing to do for democracy in America and all over the world” and the New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez deemed it “a good call”.

 

Daniel Kreiss, an associate professor of journalism and media at the University of North Carolina, argued that companies should focus on restricting the use of personal data in ad targeting rather than banning all political ads, which he said “favors incumbents and media appointed elites vis-a-vis challengers”.

“It’s very hard to define ‘political’ things from non-political discourse,” he added. “If their policies are too loose or their enforcement too clumsy, Twitter could do real damage to public health, the uptake of government services and civic life.”

 

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