Three Things to Know About Twitter’s Political Ban

Last week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the popular platform would ban political advertising heading into the 2020 election. The move contrasts Twitter from Facebook, which is under increased pressure to do something more following scrutiny around the 2016 election.

Here are three things to know.


Twitter will ban ads from political candidates and issue organizations beginning this month. CEO Dorsey said that the ban will include exceptions, but it is unclear what types of activities they may allow. For instance, Dorsey said that they will still allow ads encouraging voter registration, but there appears to be a gray area—what about ads that are pointing to issue-based articles or encouraging individuals to become active in a petition. It’s unclear how deep the issue will impact the political and awareness community.


Twitter committed to releasing its final policy by Friday, November 15 and the final policy will be enacted by Friday, November 22.

Our Take:

Let’s put this in context: Twitter was never the best place to put your political advertising. It is just a fraction of the behemoth that Facebook is. And that’s for good reason. Twitter doesn’t have the best targeting options.

Second, the anonymity of Twitter makes it difficult to spend effectively. Even if you target followers of accounts that are popular, you are unlikely to see success. That’s because the platform is bogged down with bots and spam accounts. Of President Trump’s 66.5 million followers, it is estimated that more than 60% are fake, according to SparkToro.

That certainly leaves a lot of real accounts, but doesn’t ensure that any dollars spent targeting like audiences will be spent effectively.

The platform found success by being a place to disseminate news stories and short thoughts—not to activate audiences that may be unaware of you.

So should your political organization have a Twitter account? Absolutely. But you’ll have to go with more organic ways to grow your followers. You’ll have to get back to the basics. Engage with them. Talk with them. That’s why they joined Twitter in the first place.

The new rules seem certain to make Twitter followers harder to grow, but that base that you do find will be more engaged and more likely to spur into action. They sought you out. They followed you. They want to hear from you. So talk with them. And do it in an authentic, genuine way.

Article by: Patrick Hynes

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