In late October, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, released a series of tweets the announced that the social media giant will be banning political ads worldwide. Dorsey stated, “ We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought”.
Of course, as a political candidate, or working for a candidate’s campaign, this does not mean all political messaging needs to be halted on Twitter. Dorsey and Twitter, encourage candidates to build their message organically on the platform. Twitter is only removing the paid aspect of social media political advertising.
According to multiple sources, including Fox News, CNN, the NY Times, and more, this ban will include candidates running for a specific office, and legislative/ and political issues. However, there are certain “issues” that will be able to take advantage of paid advertising on Twitter.
Full Court Press Conference
November 15th Twitter held a conference to announce the full details of the ban on political ads, during this announcement, they clarified exactly what will be banned, what “issues” refer to, and if there are any exceptions. It is expected to be November 22nd, when Twitter will stop accepting and running political ads.
As I was digging through the Policies section of the Twitter Business website, I noticed that their policies have not yet been updated. I noticed this because there are still guidelines that are to be followed to advertise politically on twitter. This even included an in-depth explanation of how to become a certified political advertiser. However, this section was quickly updated after their press conference on November 15th.
After the November 15th press conference it was stated that anyone running for political office, political parties, government officials, ballot measures, or legislative outcome is considered prohibited political content. These “issues” that have been of much speculation were defined as, social causes including climate change, gun control, and abortion, re allowed to have ads. These ads will be very broad in their targeting only allowing the state or province they live in to be targeted. Political parties will not be a targeting method for these issues.
They’re Not The Lone Wolf
Even though Twitter is the first giant to do away with political advertising, a rising star TikTok also has banned political advertising. The company stated that these types of ads don’t fit in with the experience the short-form video app aims to offer. Pinterest also has a ban on all political advertising.
But what does this mean for political candidates, parties, and issues? Well just because Twitter has officially but political advertising on the chopping block, that doesn’t mean your digital efforts are now useless. Facebook, Google, and Programmatic Platforms will still allow advertisers to run political ads on their platforms and networks.
Instagram, a social platform under the Facebook umbrella, will also allow political advertising. Snapchat, back in September launched a political ads library to be used as a campaign tool for the 2020 elections.
Twitter is the first big social media platform to make the jump to ban political ads, joining TikTok and Pinterest in this movement. However, the digital world is a large one and for the candidates and issues of the 2020 election, there are plenty of avenues to be considered, explored, and used.