Twitter released revised rules for advertisements on Friday, saying that ads sponsored by politicians still are banned but advertisements for causes, such as social, economic and environmental issues, are allowed.
Beginning this week, businesses and activists are allowed to buy advertisements around causes like “civic engagement” and “social equity.” But the promotions can’t support a political candidate, legislative proposal or election, according to The Washington Post. However, businesses and activists can’t promote advertisements only to people who have certain political beliefs.
Twitter’s new rules do not have fact-checking requirements, so even cause promotions could hold inaccuracies.
“We believe political messaging should earn their reach,” Vijaya Gadde, who oversees legality, policy, trust and safety at Twitter, told the Post. “It’s a big change for us as a company but one we believe is going to make our service and ultimately political outcomes around the world better.”
Twitter’s decision to ban political advertisements came after worries of widespread misinformation following the Trump administration running promotions with lies about former Vice President Joe Biden on Facebook and Google. Those two companies have not taken Twitter’s approach and have instead decided to leave the promotions alone.
In response to Trump’s spending on social media, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who may announce a run for president as a Democrat, has said that he plans to spend $100 million on online ads against the president in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona.
“We’ve seen both for Twitter and other platforms the real challenges of defining what is and what is not political — how contestable that is, from the public’s point of view and also from the perspective of actors who are trying to place ads,” Shannon McGregor, an assistant professor of communications at the University of Utah, told the Post. “And doing that at scale, it doesn’t seem feasible.”