Twitter has officially declared the termination of a 3-year ban on political ads, another decision by Elon Musk as he seeks to drive more revenue following his acquisition of Twitter in 2020.
On Tuesday evening, the company declared they would adjust their policy against political advertising that advocates causes in America.
In the near future, we are thrilled to announce that our company is broadening its political advertising opportunities- a news which was proudly shared via our Twitter Safety account.
We believe that cause-based advertising can facilitate public conversation around important topics. Today, we’re relaxing our ads policy for cause-based ads in the US. We also plan to expand the political advertising we permit in the coming weeks.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 3, 2023
In 2019, Twitter responded to the rising concern over false information circulating on its platform by banning all political advertisements.
Jack Dorsey, former CEO of Twitter, poignantly declared that while online propaganda is incredibly effective in the commercial industry, it poses a great threat to politics as its power can alter the destiny of millions.
This latest decision appears to be a major shift away from the prior stance which disallowed any promotions targeted towards candidates, political parties, and elected or appointed figures in government.
In the past, political advertising was an inconsequential piece of Twitter’s overall revenue stream, contributing a mere $3 million in total ad spending for the US midterms back in 2018.
In an announcement ending the ban, the company declared that “propaganda for causes can spark public discussions on essential topics,” and went on to note that their new policy bringing it in line with television and other media does not require any more information.
In March 2021, Facebook lifted a ban on political and social issue advertisement that had been imposed since the US presidential elections of 2020. This move by Facebook aims to promote more open dialogue about these politically sensitive topics among its users.
Positioning himself as an avid defender of free speech, Musk proclaimed that he acquired Twitter because he was confident the site had the capacity to become a great platform for open expression – yet sadly hadn’t realized its full potential.
In order to cover the $44 billion purchase costs, the billionaire was compelled to make drastic budget reductions and hastily sought out new sources of revenue.