Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced Wednesday afternoon that the social media giant would halt all political advertising on its platform — globally — on Nov. 22.
Dorsey provided a thread of tweets that detailed the reasons behind the decision, with the consensus being that Twitter wanted candidates’ message and reach to be earned, not bought.
As expected, Twitter reacted immediately to the news. The reaction to the ban from the campaign staff of Democrats and President Trump’s re-election campaign were quite different.
Brad Parscale, the campaign manager of President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election team, was livid at the decision, calling the ban a ‘very dumb decision’ that would anger Twitter’s shareholders while also ‘silencing conservatives.’
“Will Twitter also be stopping ads from biased liberal media outlets," asked Parscale in a statement. "This is yet another attempt to silence conservatives since Twitter knows President Trump has the most sophisticated online program ever known.”
Ned Segal, Twitter’s chief financial officer, tweeted Wednesday that the company made less than $3 million from political ads in the 2018 cycle, suggesting Twitter shareholders won’t be in panic mode over the decision.
Matt Shupe, a Republican political strategist whose public relations firm has won awards for its use of ads on Facebook, called Twitter’s decision “incredibly dumb.” He said there’s no reason to eliminate all political advertising just to stop the relatively small number of bogus or misleading ads.
“You can’t abolish television advertising because cigarette makers bought ads once,” he said.
Democrats, meanwhile, mostly praised the move by Twitter. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang was among the first to release a statement on Wednesday afternoon.
“I applaud Twitter’s decision to ban political ads,” Yang said. “It’s the rare triumph of the public good over the bottom line. I hope Facebook follows suit or at least verifies and stands by the accuracy of political ads on its platform.”
Yang’s message was echoed by former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign staff.
“When faced with a choice between ad dollars and the integrity of our democracy, it is encouraging that, for once, revenue did not win out,” said Bill Russo, a spokesman for Biden.
The news comes within the same month that Biden publicly asked for the removal of a Twitter ad from President Trump’s reelection campaign that falsely accused Biden of corruption for his role in Ukraine policy during the Obama administration.
The decision by Twitter is sure to put more pressure on Facebook, which continues to defend running paid political ads, even false ones, as a free speech priority.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.