Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has differentiated Twitter from Facebook in an important way: Twitter has stopped accepting political advertising. The Hill:
“It’s not credible for us to say: ‘We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well…they can say whatever they want!'” Dorsey wrote in a clear stab at Facebook.
This is a very good thing. Twitter is doing what Facebook laughably claims to be doing, which is providing a forum for public discourse, without the profit motive being first and foremost.
“We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally,” Dorsey wrote in a Twitter thread. “A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money.”
Twitter’s announcement comes as its much larger rival, Facebook, faces a whirlwind of controversy over its decision to allow misinformation in political advertising. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a hearing earlier this month that the platform runs political ads out of a desire to promote public discourse.
All of the top Democratic presidential candidates have slammed Facebook over its policies around political advertising, accusing the social media giant of profiting from misinformation.
Facebook’s most recent waffling on not having to fact check political ads to assure veracity was indefensible. If there’s one thing Donald Trump could use right now, it’s another platform from which to launch phony facts. Facebook gave every appearance of playing into just that, recently. Facebook is used to being the Goliath of social media. Maybe Twitter’s actions will level the playing field a bit and get some accountability going on. It is devoutly to be wished.