Twitter Announces New Ad Policies

By on October 25, 2017
Does the new Twitter policy go far enough?

Twitter rolled out a new policy on Tuesday that it says will bring greater transparency to its political ad process, giving users the opportunity to learn more about the ads they are seeing and why they are getting them.

“Today, we’re announcing steps to dramatically increase transparency for all ads on Twitter, including political ads and issue-based ads,” said Twitter executive Bruce Falck. “We will also be improving controls for our customers and adopting stricter advertising policies.”

The company elaborated further about its election ad policy:

“Electioneering ads are those that refer to a clearly identified candidate (or party associated with that candidate) for any elected office.* To make it clear when you are seeing or engaging with an electioneering ad, we will now require that electioneering advertisers identify their campaigns as such. We will also change the look and feel of these ads and include a visual political ad indicator.”

The company talked about its efforts to bring more clarity to political advertising for candidates, but it has failed to address “issue ads” which were one of the preferred tools of Russian meddlers during the 2016 election. So that will be one aspect of the policy to watch moving forward, because of Twitter doesn’t do anything to regulate those types of ads, then its efforts to prevent trolls from peddling misleading advertising will be largely fruitless.

Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) recently teamed up to introduce the Honest Ads Act, which is a law that would provide broad regulation for online advertising. Sharply critical of Twitter earlier this year, Warner had a calmer tone on Tuesday in regards to the new policy.

It’s clear that Warner isn’t looking to back down from his bill. Any hopes that Twitter and other social networks have pinned on their ability to self-regulate are probably misplaced, because sooner or later, Congress is going to institute broad regulatory controls on digital advertising.