Twitter (TWTR) will stop accepting political ads, the company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, announced Wednesday. “We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally.
We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” Dorsey tweeted. “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,” he added.
Twitter’s chief financial officer, Ned Segal, tweeted Wednesday that the company made less than $3 million from political ads in the 2018 cycle.
“This decision was based on principle, not money,” he said. The announcement comes amid intense scrutiny of Silicon Valley’s handling of political ads.
Social media companies, particularly Facebook, have been criticized for allowing politicians to run false ads. Dorsey’s comments puts him at odds with senior Facebook (FB) executives, including Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, who have vigorously defended Facebook’s policy of not fact-checking political ads.
Zuckerberg reiterated his stance on political advertising on Wednesday, highlighting how Facebook and Twitter have diverged.
Brad Parscale, President Trump’s campaign manager, called Twitter’s move “a very dumb decision for their stockholders.””This is yet another attempt to silence conservatives,” he said in a statement, “since Twitter knows President Trump has the most sophisticated online program ever known.
“In a lengthy series of tweets about Twitter’s decision, Dorsey said that “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.”