Facing political ads: Twitter says No, Facebook says Yes

Jack Dorsey, Twitter's chief executive, said on October 30th that Twitter was banning political advertising on its social networking platform.

"We believe that the dissemination of political information should be fought on our own, not spent on spending money," Dorsey said in a series of tweets. He said politicians' messages should be disseminated on Twitter by personal users following their accounts or forwarding their messages, rather than paying for their campaigns to let Twitter users see their messages.

Twitter's shares fell 1 percent in after-hours trading on Oct. 30. In a earnings conference with investors last week (October 21-October 25), Ned Segal, Twitter's chief financial officer, said that revenue from political advertising around the 2018 U.S. midterm elections was "less than $3 million."

In September 2019, Siegel downplayed the overall importance of Twitter's political advertising revenue. "As you probably know, political advertising is not a big deal for us, " he told attendees at an investment conference at Citigroup. "So when we think about these things, we think less about revenue related to political advertising, and more about an opportunity to serve our goals, because Twitter is a great place to see what happens when something happens in real time, like an election." "

Dorsey's october 30 attitude appeared to be a rebuke to Facebook. He announced the new policy on Twitter just as Facebook was announcing its earnings. Congress and other critics have sharply questioned Facebook's policies, such as allowing political ads on its network to be actually wrong.

"While Internet advertising is powerful and effective for commercial advertisers, it poses a significant risk to politics, and it can be used to influence votes and thus the lives of millions of people," Dorsey wrote on Twitter.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder and chairman and chief executive, said in a speech and congressional testimony last week that while the company was working to eliminate false or misleading content on its web, it would not restrict politicians from posting information on the platform.

It was this reasoning that led to Rep. Alexander Ocasio Cortez (D-Ny.) Ask, can she deliberately put misleading information on Facebook to crush her opponent. Zuckerberg responded that he wasn't sure if it would violate the site's policies, but that "probably" it would be allowed.

This article has been updated to add previous comments from Twitter executives on political ads.

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