Twitter bans political advertising: no more fake news?
Twitter is banning all political advertising, with the new policy coming into effect on 22 November. The ban applies for all advertisements for or against candidates in elections and also for content and legislation of national significance. What does the move mean - also as regards the election in the US in 2020?
Just a first step - but an important one
Twitter's decision doesn't solve the problem of disinformation, Zeit Online points out:
“Because of course the ban on political advertising doesn't prevent someone like Donald Trump from spreading lies across the world via Twitter. Nor does it prevent parties, candidates or anyone else from posting manipulative, disinformative content, or users from sharing them. And it doesn't prevent people from fomenting hatred or constant nagging. In this respect [Twitter boss Jack] Dorsey's announcement clearly doesn't go far enough. ... Nevertheless, Twitter's ban on political advertising is an important step, because it signals that the role of such platforms in political processes has been understood. ... Because it attempts to apply the brakes - in an area where direct financial interests and advertising revenues are at stake.”
Facebook must follow suit
The Guardian criticises Facebook's plans to continue allowing political advertising:
“[Mark Zuckerberg] subscribes to the romantic view of social media as the yellow brick road of digital’s global village. The road should not dictate who travels along it, it should just collect the tolls. That includes advertisers, the sustenance of Zuckerberg's 500bn empire. This argument reruns the celebrated - or notorious - US supreme court ruling on Citizens United in 2010, which overturned restrictions on campaign finance as being an offence against free speech. From then on, lobbyists, corporations, tycoons, anyone with money, could spend what they liked during an election. It declared open season for fake news, targeted ads and dark money 'Super Pacs'. That season gave us Donald Trump, and has yet to close.”