Twitter announced Wednesday that the social media company will stop accepting political ads ahead of the 2020 election cycle in an effort to preserve the sanctity of the democratic process.
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
Minutes later, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg strongly defended political ads, and framed it as a free speech issue during a Q3 2019 earnings call with investors and media.
“Right now, the content debate is about political ads. Should we block political ads with false statements?” said the 34-year-old billionaire chief executive. “Should we block all political ads? Google, YouTube and most internet platforms run these same ads, most cable networks run these same ads, and of course national broadcasters are required by law to run them by FCC regulations. I think there are good reasons for this.”
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Without naming Facebook or its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Dorsey hit back in his final tweet on the topic saying, “This isn’t about free expression. 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.”
Critics, including Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, argue that banning political ads isn’t censorship as politicians are still free to post on social networks normally.