We have decided to stop all political advertising on Twitter worldwide. We think we should win political information, not buy. Why? There are several reasons...
When people decide to focus on an account or forward it, political messages gain an impact. Paying for it eliminates that decision, forcing people to highly optimized and targeted political messages. We do not believe that this decision should be undermined by money.
While Internet advertising is powerful and effective for commercial advertisers, this power poses a huge risk to politics and can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions of people.
Internet political advertising presents a new challenge to civic discourse: machine learning-based messaging and micro-target optimization, uncensored misleading information, and a great deal of false information. Everything is being done on an increased scale of speed, complexity and overwhelming scale.
These challenges will affect all Internet communications, not just political advertising. It's best to focus our energy on the underlying issues without having to spend money on additional burdens and complexities. Trying to solve both problems at the same time means that neither can be well resolved and undermines our credibility.
For example, we dare not say, "We're trying to stop people from spreading misleading information through our system, and if someone pays us, ask them to target and force people to see their political ads... All right...... You can say what they want!
We consider stopping only candidate ads, but publishing ads is a way to circumvent them. Besides, it's unfair to everyone, but for candidates to buy ads for the problems they want to solve. So we stopped doing that, too.
We are well aware that we are only a small part of the larger political advertising ecosystem. One might argue that our actions today may benefit the current leadership. But we have seen many social movements reach large scale without any political advertising. I believe this will only grow.
In addition, we need more forward-looking political advertising regulations (which are hard to do). The requirement stoic transparency of advertising is progressive, but not enough. The Internet offers new capabilities that regulators need to consider to ensure a level playing field.
We will share the final policy by November 15, including some exceptions (for example, ads that will still allow voter registration). We will implement the new policy from November 22 to provide a notice period to current advertisers before this change takes effect.
The last note. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. This involves paying the price to increase the influence of political discourse and has a significant impact on the possible readiness of today's democratic infrastructure to respond. In order to solve this problem, it is worth taking a step back.