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Twitter expected to announce specifics of new political ad ban

Glitch disrupts Twitter service
Posted at 8:25 AM, Nov 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-13 09:25:50-05

This week, Twitter is expected to unveil the details of its recently-announced policy banning political advertising.

At the end of October, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced the ban in a post on the social media site writing, "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."

Michael Ray, Social Media Director at STIR Advertising & Integrated Messaging in Milwaukee, said Twitter only brought in roughly $3 million in political advertising revenue during the 2018 election cycle. While that's a lot of money to the average person, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the $284 million Facebook made on political advertising during the same time.

Ray said Facebook is more popular among some likely voter populations, which is one reason why political advertising has gravitated more towards that social media outlet recently.

"In that older population that tends to get out there and vote, those are growing numbers for Facebook," Ray said.

He said the layout of Facebook, and how it's typically consumed, also plays a role in making it more appealing than Twitter to political candidates wanting to buy advertising.

"On Twitter, people are just used to having conversations. It moves a little faster. People use it more as a news source," Ray said.

On Friday, Twitter is expected to announce the specifics of its new advertising policy. The company then plans to stop accepting political ads beginning Nov. 22.

Ray said local businesses wanting to advertise to visitors during next summer's Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee should pay close attention to Twitter's new policy to make sure none of their ads are deemed unacceptable.

"Tapping into that (DNC) business makes all the sense in the world," Ray said.

While Facebook has not implemented any sort of political advertising ban, Ray noted it also has guidelines for permitted/not permitted language in purchased ads.

Ray said it's a good idea that local companies wanting to advertise during the DNC also review the Facebook policy to be safe.