Twitter Formalizes Its Policies on Political Advertising

CEO Jack Dorsey revealed the ban via tweet late last month

The bird brought the word on political advertising on Twitter
Kronick/iStock

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey revealed in a late-October tweetstorm that the social network would no longer accept political ads, and Friday, Twitter released a more formal policy on the issue.

Promotion of political content is banned globally, and the company defined political content as “content that references a candidate, political party, elected or appointed government official, election, referendum, ballot measure, legislation, regulation, directive or judicial outcome.”

The policy also applies to ads that contain references to political content, such as appeals for votes, solicitation of financial support and advocacy for or against any of the examples listed above.

Candidates, political parties, elected government officials and appointed government officials are not allowed to run ads of any type on the platform.

News publishers that meet Twitter’s criteria for exemption can run ads that reference political content or prohibited advertisers, but those ads cannot include advocacy for or against the topics or advertisers.

In the U.S., political action committees and Super PACs are also prohibited from advertising on the social network.

Twitter said it restricts promotion of and requires advertiser certification for ads that educate, raise awareness of or call for people to take action on civic engagement, economic growth, environmental stewardship or social equity causes.

The company added, “We have made this decision based on the following two beliefs: Advertising should not be used to drive political, judicial, legislative or regulatory outcomes. However, cause-based advertising can facilitate public conversation around important topics.”

Twitter said micro-targeting “presents entirely new challenges to civic discourse that are not yet fully understood,” adding that in order to use this feature, advertisers must comply with all of the conditions mentioned above, complete its advertising certification process and honor the following restrictions.

Advertisers are limited to geo, keyword and interest targeting, and other types, including tailored audiences, are prohibited.

ZIP code-level targeting is not allowed: Geotargeting can only occur at the state, province or region level and above.

Finally, keyword and interest targeting cannot include terms associated with political content, prohibited advertisers or political leanings or affiliations, such as conservative and liberal.

Twitter said ads cannot be run on behalf of or specifically reference people or entities that are excluded under the policies detailed above, and landing pages must not be directly linked to those people or entities, either.

Finally, the social network addressed for-profit organizations wishing to run ads that educate, raise awareness of or call for people to take action in connection with the causes mentioned above.

The ads should not have the primary goal of driving political, judicial, legislative or regulatory outcomes, and they must be tied to the organization’s publicly stated values, principles and/or beliefs.

Government and supranational agencies and entities are not subject to geo-targeting restrictions as long as they comply with all other restrictions.

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