Of course, it would. Should political groups be allowed to place ads that include untrue information. Of course, they shouldn’t. No one should. But these assertions are not universally agreed at present. Misleading political advertising is being used in social media as an election tactic.
As Twitter chief executive officer, Jack Dorsey, noted, “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,” Dorsey noted in one of his tweets.
So while Facebook wrestles with the problems ignited by its decision not to ban political advertising even when it is false, Twitter is placing a ban on all political advertising, effective from November 22. Twitter chief executive officer, Jack Dorsey made the announcement in a series of tweets:
We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons…
— jack (@jack) October 30, 2019
The political advertising problem came to light in September when Twitter, Facebook and Google refused to remove a misleading video ad from President Donald Trump’s campaign that targeted former vice president, Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential candidate. The ad alleged that Biden promised Ukraine US$1 billion if the country fired a prosecutor investigating a company linked to his son, Hunter.
In contrast, Facebook chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg told Congress last week that politicians have the right to free speech on Facebook. Facebook has begun to make a few exceptions to its freedom of speech attitude – under pressure from politicians and political groups. For example, Democrat Senator, Elizabeth Warren, ran a fake ad claiming Zuckerberg had endorsed Trump’s re-election.
And in October 28, The New York Times published an open letter that Facebook employees sent to Zuckerberg, opposing his decision.
Twitter’s ban is absolute. Dorsey stated that his platform had considered only banning ads for candidates but realised that ads related to issues would have been a way around that ban. Its new policy will only include exemptions for issues like registering to vote.
“This isn’t about free expression,” Dorsey tweeted.
“This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle. It’s worth stepping back in order to address.”