Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey has decided to “stop all political advertising on Twitter globally” and it was something that was expected of Mark Zuckerberg for Facebook but was done by Dorsey. It might also be seen as something that was the right thing to do at the right time. The paid-for political reach enabled by “highly optimised and targeted” messaging’s extent is largely unknown and also unregulated.
It was also found out that the Facebook ads delivery algorithm is biased and the ads can be skewed along racial and gender lines. Facebook’s control over what their users see gives it a lot of potentials to influence people’s political views. In Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony, he said the company will not police posts by politicians, including misleading and false claims. David Lazer, who is a University Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Computer and Information Sciences at Northeastern University, says Twitter’s no political ads policy will raise questions like what does “political” mean, would “If I have an ad about a dude saving the environment, is that political? Is it telling people to turn out political?” he added, “From my perspective, politics is so pervasive; it’s going to be really interesting to see how Twitter tries to implement this.”
Jack Dorsey didn’t explicitly mention Mark Zuckerberg or Facebook, but his announcement appeared to be a low-key sub tweet targeting at the company and its leader. In a string of tweets, Dorsey explained his decision, he wrote: “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.” For Twitter, it means that people will still be able to post whatever they want, but that the company will no longer charge them for targeting a specific audience or for boosting a message with political connotations. Will Facebook take any such similar action is to be seen.