Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) is making the bold move to ban all political advertising from its platform.
"We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought," CEO Jack Dorsey said on Wednesday.
In a series of tweets, Dorsey highlighted some of the social media giant's concerns about allowing its ad platform to be used for political purposes.
"A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account," Dorsey said. "Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people."
Dorsey is concerned that Twitter could be used to impact election results.
"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," Dorsey said.
Dorsey also took a not-so-subtle jab at Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) recent decision to exempt political ads from its fact-checking process.
"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!'" Dorsey said.
Facebook, meanwhile, has a different view.
"In a democracy, people should decide what is credible, not tech companies," the tech titan told the Associated Press on Oct. 24. "That's why -- like other internet platforms and broadcasters -- we don't fact check ads from politicians."
Facebook's hands-off approach to political ads has been met with intense criticism. Multiple political leaders have derided the social media king's refusal to remove false ads from its platform, and many of Facebook's own employees oppose the policy. Now, with Twitter taking action to address these concerns, it will be interesting to see if Facebook alters its approach.
Banning ads also has risks
Dorsey was quick to note that there could be negative ramifications of removing political ads from social media platforms.
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.
Dorsey also called on regulators to help address the situation.
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.
Dorsey said that Twitter would announce its final policy regarding political advertising on Nov. 15. The company will begin enforcing its new policy on Nov. 22.