Twitter has announced a ban on all political advertising from its service, saying on Wednesday that social media companies give advertisers an unfair advantage in proliferating highly targeted, misleading messages.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted the change, declaring that the company had realised “paying for reach” on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms had “significant ramifications” for civic discourse.
The majority of money spent on political advertising in the United States goes to television ads.
Twitter’s policy will start on November 22 with the full policy published by November 15.
Some exceptions will be allowed, including advertisements in support of voter registration.
“We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” said Dorsey, on his personal Twitter account.
“While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions,” he added.
“Internet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimisation of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes,” said Dorsey. “All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.”
Dorsey also urged legislators and regulators to work harder to develop new laws governing social media.
“We need more forward-looking political ad regulation (very difficult to do). Ad transparency requirements are progress, but not enough,” he tweeted. “The internet provides entirely new capabilities, and regulators need to think past the present day to ensure a level-playing field.”