Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has made an important decision in terms of the social media platform by banning all political advertisements. Dorsey believes the spread of fake news and political advertisements jeopardize democracy. This is in contrast of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s stance on the issue, who claims Facebook will continue to receive and promote political ads, regardless of their truthfulness or falsehood.
Dorsey claims political messages should “be earned, not bought”. Responses to this decision have been mixed, while Conservatives are outraged and Democrats are in favor. Trump’s campaign manager claimed it would be a major negative decision for Twitter’s stockholders, which has since been refuted, claiming the lack of political ads will not significantly impact the outlet’s revenue. Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez concluded that if social media outlets are not going to run basic fact checking on the political ads, they should not be allowed to be posted at all. I agree with this statement, especially considering the widespread misinformation on Facebook for profit and the impact it has on polarizing our country in particular.
Even when Twitter did allow political advertisements, it required verification of the advertisers. The ban will not impede on free speech, which can include toxicity. Another challenge Twitter will experience will be distinguishing what ads will be considered political or not. Twitter’ defines political ads as “advocates for or against legislative issues of national importance,” and this would be including immigration and health care. In my opinion, this will not be entirely detrimental to the spread of information to the masses, but will inhibit the payment for the spread of this information or bias.
I believe Twitter is making an important step on the attack on fake news in this country, and is setting the precedent for other outlets to consider what they can do to stop the spread of misinformation to no longer compromise democracy.