This past week Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that Twitter will no longer allow political advertising in an attempt to stop the spread of misinformation.
This led to quite a bit of controversy.
Dorsey claimed that he is not limiting free expression, but he is stopping people from “paying for reach.”
By saying this, Dorsey is giving reason to the fact that reach should be earned rather than bought, but for largely unnoticed issues that are still important, this is a detrimental decision.
Sometimes it takes an advertisement to reach all parts of an audience and spread awareness.
Now it seems that companies may try to pay influential Twitter users to tweet in favor of their political agenda, which seems less trustworthy for the public than blatantly seeing misinformation.
Many people can prove whether an ad is false or not, but if a user were to say something, it becomes harder to decipher what is real and what is paid promotion.
Beside banning political advertisements, Dorsey also mentioned that issue advertisements will also be banned.
This raises the question as to what is considered an issue advertisement, as not all of them are banned.
There will be a few exceptions explained when Twitter releases the full policy on Nov. 15.
By choosing what issue ads are being shown, Twitter sets a certain political agenda that is not fair for them to choose.
Since so many users, especially in the college demographic, use Twitter to get news on politics and general information about elections and issues, Twitter is taking away a massive platform for activism and consequently guiding users to be more misinformed.
People who get their political news and views from Twitter may be missing a big part of the story.
Another reason Dorsey said this decision was made is due to the risks of misinformation significantly influencing the votes of a large number of people.
It is obvious that Twitter would rather not deal with bad information at all — enough to outweigh the amount of good news that could be spread.
He also said that this was due to the millions of lives that could be affected by false information, but then he said he understands they are a very small portion of the industry.
This seems very contradictory to me because if he truly did believe they were not that influential in the industry, there would not be a ban.
Dorsey backed up his decision by explaining the new challenges internet political advertising presents, including deep fakes and microtargeting.
While these are issues that are extremely important, I think there should be a happy medium of stricter regulations toward political advertisements instead of taking them away entirely.