Twitter bans all political ads, and the world waits to see if Facebook will follow suit

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Jack Dorsey has announced that Twitter is implementing a ban on all political advertising on its network. The move comes after Facebook said it would not ban political ads, but Dorsey believes that the ability to reach a large audience with political messages "should be earned, not bought".

While the ban is a global one, the impact is likely to be felt most strongly in the US where spending on political campaigning is huge -- and whoever spends the most money has a tendency to fare better. The manager of the Trump 2020 campaign, Brad Parscale, has dismissed Twitter's decision as "yet another attempt by the left to silence Trump and conservatives".

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At the moment, full details of the new policies that Twitter will use to police political advertising have not been revealed. So far, Jack Dorsey has said that "we've made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally", and that the ban will come into force from November 22. Just a week before this, on November 15, full details will be published.

Dorsey made the revelation in a tweet thread last night:

He went on to explain the thinking behind the move:

Dorsey gave some reasons for the blanket ban on political as, explaining why it was not only going to apply to political candidates:

He concluded by stressing that the decision was not a matter of limiting free speech on Twitter:

A final note. This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle. It’s worth stepping back in order to address.

Facebook has been under a great deal of pressure to do more to stop -- or at least limit -- political manipulation on its network, particularly in the run-up to elections. In recent days, Mark Zuckerberg has faced strong criticism for permitting politicians to made demonstrably false claims in ads on Facebook.

The social network giant is yet to publicly react to the announcement from Twitter, and it remains to be seen if it will bow to pressure and follow suit with a similar ban.

Image credit: Sparrowbh / Shutterstock

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