Twitter drops ban on political ads

Political ads made less than 1% of Twitter’s annual revenue during 2018’s midterm cycle.

(Photo credit: Getty Images).

Twitter is planning to once again allow political advertising on the platform “in the coming weeks” and it is immediately accepting cause-based ads, such as those that promote civic action, in the U.S., it said on Tuesday. 

The move would overturn a 2019 decision by former Twitter CEO and cofounder Jack Dorsey that banned political and issue-focused ads globally.

The return of political ads is expected to bring a small portion of much-needed revenue to Twitter, which Elon Musk has stated is "in the fast lane to bankruptcy." Political ads garnered $3 million in revenue during the 2018 midterm cycle, according to Twitter’s former CFO, Ned Segal, who left the company in October 2022, according to his LinkedIn profile. That’s only a small percentage of Twitter’s total 2018 revenue of $3 billion.

Twitter also said that it is planning to align its paid media policy with that of TV and other media outlets. Facebook and YouTube allow paid political content, leaving TikTok as one of the few major platforms that disallows political ads, although creators skirt around these rules and promote political causes.

Twitter also said that it will “ensure that our approach to reviewing and approving content protects people on Twitter.”

Musk is an emphatic free speech advocate who reinstated mostly right-wing accounts in November. That included handles belonging to Jordan Peterson, who was suspended last summer after purposely deadnaming and misgendering actor Elliot Page, and satire news website The Babylon Bee, which had been suspended since March for refusing to delete a tweet that intentionally misgendered U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine.

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