Twitter to relax ban on political ads
SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter announced Tuesday that it will begin easing its longstanding ban on political ads, allowing advocacy groups and elected officials to resume promotions focused on specific causes.
Twitter, which was acquired by Elon Musk in October, banned some forms of political advertising in 2019. At the time, the company said political influence should be earned rather than bought, with politicians gaining audiences genuine interest in what they had to say instead of using money to amplify their messages.
Mr. Musk said one of his goals in taking over Twitter was to relax its rules about the types of content that would be allowed on the platform. The billionaire’s approach to content moderation has spooked major brands, some of which have suspended spending on Twitter to prevent their ads from appearing alongside controversial tweets. This resulted in a significant drop in Twitter’s revenue.
Twitter said on Tuesday it would begin allowing cause-based advertising, which allows marketers to promote content about political issues. The company said it would later develop other forms of political advertising. Under its previous leadership, Twitter allowed cause-based advertising with certain restrictions, including one that prevented advertisers from using microtargeting to reach specific groups of people.
“We believe cause-based advertising can facilitate public conversation about important topics,” the company tweeted. “Going forward, we will align our advertising policy with that of television and other media.”
The move could open up Twitter to more revenue as it tries to attract advertisers to the platform. National elections are not scheduled in the United States this year.
Twitter’s ban on political ads contradicted the policies of Facebook and other major social media companies, which allow elected officials and candidates to buy ads. The 2019 decision sparked an outcry from conservatives and liberals, who argued the restrictions would hamper political campaigning and unfairly prevent some advocacy organizations from getting their messages out.