Twitter’s Ban On Political Ads Has Just Put Facebook Into A Bad Position

 

Yesterday, via a Tweet, the CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey said this:

If you click on the Tweet above, which I encourage you to do, you will see a long thread spelling out the reasons why Twitter is banning political ads. But in short, he explained that the company felt that the spread of opinion should be earned, not bought. And with both the UK and USA preparing for elections, I am certain the timing is no accident. Neither is the fact that the full rules are yet to be finalized but will be made available on or before November 15th. The new policy goes into effect on November 22nd. Which is right before the UK elections in December. And long before the US elections a year from now.

Now this move is guaranteed to do two things. First it is sure to take Twitter off the radar screens of many governments and politicians worldwide because it’s done something to address the issue of political ads and the damage they can do. But it also now puts the spotlight onto Facebook who makes tons of cash from political advertising and has proven that they don’t manage political ads very well. Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook are sure to feel the heat from all sides who will see them as being bad actors when it comes to this issue as they are refusing to do anything because Facebook sees this as a free speech issue. The problem is that whether this is a free speech issue or not, the perception that already exists is that Facebook is on the wrong side of this issue and the decision taken by Twitter is only going to solidify that perception. Which means that Facebook now has a choice. They can continue down the road of the status quo which is going to make this an a continuing issue for them and embolden the #DeleteFacebook crowd. Or they can copy Twitter and ban political ads which would be certain to upset some people. An example of this can be found here as the Trump campaign has reacted negatively to the Twitter political ad ban. Whichever way they choose to go, one thing is certain. Twitter’s decision to ban political ads is going to make life very, very bad for Facebook.

 

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