Twitter bans all political adverts

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Twitter is banning all political adverts from its service, saying social media companies give advertisers an unfair advantage in proliferating highly targeted, misleading messages.

Facebook has faced criticism since it disclosed earlier in October that it will not fact-check ads by politicians or their campaigns.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told US Congress last week that politicians have the right to free speech on Facebook.

The issue suddenly arose in September when Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, refused to remove a misleading video ad from US president Donald Trump’s campaign that targeted former vice president Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential candidate.

In response, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, another presidential hopeful, ran an ad on Facebook taking aim at its Mr Zuckerberg.

The ad falsely claimed that Mr Zuckerberg endorsed Mr Trump for re-election, acknowledging the deliberate falsehood as necessary to make a point.

Critics have called on Facebook to ban all political ads. This includes CNN chief Jeff Zucker, who recently called the policy of allowing lies ludicrous and advised the social media giant to sit out the 2020 election until it can figure out something better.

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey tweeted the change on Wednesday, saying the company is recognising that advertising on social media offers an unfair level of targeting compared to other mediums.

Twitter’s policy will start on November 22.

Chris Price
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