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Twitter carves out ‘cause-based’ advocacy exemption in political ads ban

Jack Dorsey announced Twitter's decision to craft the policy in October.


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on Nov 15, 2019   Updated on May 19, 2021, 10:53 pm CDT

Twitter on Friday announced the details of its political advertising policy.

In October, the social media company’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced that it would ban political advertising, a move that was a sharp contrast to Facebook and its much-criticized policy surrounding paid advertisements among politicians.

“Twitter globally prohibits the promotion of political content, the company’s policy reads. “We have made this decision based on our belief that political message reach should be earned, not bought.”

Twitter said the policy will bar paid advertisements from candidates, advertisers, PACs and Super PACs, and appointed government officials. Ads containing references to “a candidate, political party, elected or appointed government official, election, referendum, ballot measure, legislation, regulation, directive, or judicial outcome” would also be subject to the policy.

However, the company also carved out rules for “cause-based advertising,” but with restrictions for those seeking to use them.

The cause-based advertising would cover “ads that educate, raise awareness, and/or call for people to take action in connection with civic engagement, economic growth, environmental stewardship, or social equity causes,” Twitter says.

When Twitter first announced the ban, there was concern that while an oil company could buy an ad, an environmental group could not. This exemption appears to allay that fear.

Targeting in these ads would be restricted to location, keywords, and interest. They also would not be able to run on behalf of people or entities banned from advertising under the new political ad policy and any website linked in the ad could not be “directly linked” to those covered under their political ad policy.

The policy is scheduled to go into effect on Nov. 22, according to Politico.


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*First Published: Nov 15, 2019, 2:06 pm CST