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Free Speech Censoring Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Claims End Of Paid Political Advertising On Platform

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Published on: November 2, 2019

On Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the social media site would no longer provide paid political advertisements. I’m not the least bit bothered by it, but I am actually skeptical of the announcement considering that Twitter has heavy-handedly censored political free speech that it disagrees with in the past and advanced an anti-American agenda.

Here’s how Dorsey laid it out on his Twitter account.

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…

A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money.

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While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions.

Internet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.

These challenges will affect ALL internet communication, not just political ads. Best to focus our efforts on the root problems, without the additional burden and complexity taking money brings. Trying to fix both means fixing neither well, and harms our credibility.

For instance, it‘s not credible for us to say: “We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well…they can say whatever they want!

We considered stopping only candidate ads, but issue ads present a way to circumvent. Additionally, it isn’t fair for everyone but candidates to buy ads for issues they want to push. So we’re stopping these too.

We’re well aware we‘re a small part of a much larger political advertising ecosystem. Some might argue our actions today could favor incumbents. But we have witnessed many social movements reach massive scale without any political advertising. I trust this will only grow.

In addition, we need more forward-looking political ad regulation (very difficult to do). Ad transparency requirements are progress, but not enough. The internet provides entirely new capabilities, and regulators need to think past the present day to ensure a level playing field.

We’ll share the final policy by 11/15, including a few exceptions (ads in support of voter registration will still be allowed, for instance). We’ll start enforcing our new policy on 11/22 to provide current advertisers a notice period before this change goes into effect.

A final note. 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.

While it may sound noble and worthy of acceptation, the fact is that Twitter has been a useful idiot of anti-American ideology, including Marxists and Islamic terrorists while banning and shadowing banning conservative journalists.

The truth of the matter is Twitter is a platform.  They are not publishers so, there is absolutely no credibility issue until they get into censoring speech they don’t like.  That’s where their credibility is questioned and that remains in place whether they accept or reject paid political ads.

“Wow,” tweeted activist Edward Snowden. “Big move by @jack, and a bigger contrast to @Facebook’s increasingly problematic policy positions.”

“They’re drawing a clear line between paid reach and earned, organic reach,” said NBC journalist Ben Collins.

Common Dreams adds:

Under the new rules, as indicated by Dorsey, a campaign presumably could post an advertisement video or photo to its own account—just not pay to promote it. The final policy will be announced on November 15 and implemented on November 22.

“A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet,” Dorsey explained. “Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money.”

Dorsey appeared to take a subtle shot at competitor Facebook, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a recent hearing that political advertisements on that platform did not need to be truthful. In response, activists bought an ad that shows members of the Republican Party supporting the congresswoman’s Green New Deal; Facebook approved the ad.

“It’s not credible for us to say: ‘We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well…they can say whatever they want!'” said Dorsey.

Reaction from progressives was hesitantly positive.

“I don’t really know their reasons or [if] it is good or bad ultimately,” tweeted blogger Atrios, “but at least knock a dent in the ridiculous Facebook ‘free speech requires we privilege people who give us money’ argument.

We’ll see if Twitter will keep its promises as we head into another election season where millions and millions of dollars are in play for advertisements by the political establishment and like it or not Dorsey does have to answer to shareholders as Twitter is a publicly held company.

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