Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted: “While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics”
Social media rival Facebook recently ruled out a ban on political ads. The news of the ban divided America’s political camps for the 2020 election.
Without naming Facebook or its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Dorsey’s ban announcement seemed to take a shot at the company’s rhetoric around political ads.
Zuckerberg has recently been discussing the importance of “free expression” in connection to Facebook’s political ad policy, like at a Georgetown University event dedicated to that ideal.
“In a democracy, I don’t think it’s right for private companies to censor politicians or the news,” he said during a conference call with journalists.
Twitter’s ban will be enforced from 22 November, with full details released by 15 November.
Mr Dorsey explained his position in a thread of tweets.
Internet political ads, he said, presented “entirely new challenges to civic discourse”.
These challenges included “machine learning-based optimisation of messaging”, “micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes”.
“It’s not credible,” he wrote, “for us to say: ‘We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, but if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well…they can say whatever they want!'”
Countering the argument that the new policy might be seen as favouring leaders already in office, he pointed out that “many social movements reach massive scale without any political advertising”.
Ads in support of voter registration would not be affected by the ban, he added.