| 18 May 2024, Saturday |

Elon Musk’s Twitter lifts ban on political ads

Twitter Inc. will lift its restriction on political advertisements in 2019, as the Elon Musk-owned business looks to increase income, according to the company’s head of trust and safety.

The firm announced on Twitter on Tuesday that it would loosen its restrictions on “cause-based commercials” in the United States and align its advertising guidelines with those of TV and other media outlets.

The change brings Twitter’s policies closer to Meta Platform’s Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube, which allow political advertising. One platform that still bans political ads is Chinese video app TikTok.

“We believe that cause-based advertising can facilitate public conversation around important topics,” the social media company tweeted.

Cause-based ads that will be allowed on Twitter include ads that educate or raise awareness of issues such as voter registration, climate change or government programs like the Census, said Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, in an email.

Twitter banned political ads in 2019 after it and other social media companies faced widespread criticism for allowing election misinformation to spread. It also restricted ads related to social causes.

“We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” tweeted Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s then-chief executive, in announcing the move.

Since Musk took over Twitter in late October, corporate advertisers have fled in response to the Tesla CEO laying off thousands of employees, reversing the permanent suspension of former U.S. President Donald Trump and rushing a paid verification feature that resulted in scammers impersonating publicly listed companies on Twitter.

Last month, Musk defended his deep cost-cutting measures and said Twitter had been facing “negative cash flow” of $3 billion next year.

  • Reuters