Twitter bans political ads – Naked Security


Machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting! Fake and misleading news! Deep fakes! All coming at us like a nonstop barrage of communication-twisting bullets, with what Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says is “increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.”

He was talking about “new challenges to civic discourse,” giving the rationale behind Thursday’s announcement that Twitter’s banning political ads.

It’s not just political ads that are affected by the list of weirdnesses that have flown out of the Pandora’s box of artificial intelligence (AI) mixed with social media technologies. He was talking about all internet communications, Dorsey said. But it’s best for Twitter to focus on the “root problems” – what it can fix, “without the additional burden and complexity taking money brings,” he said.

Trying to fix both means fixing neither well, and harms our credibility.

Twitter’s gathering input on how to shape the new policy, which will ban candidate ads and issue ads. Dorsey:

It isn’t fair for everyone but candidates to buy ads for issues they want to push. So we’re stopping these too.

The policy will make a few exceptions, including one for ads that promote voter registration. Dorsey promised that the final policy will be out by 11 November, and that enforcement will begin on 22 November – a bit of breathing room for current advertisers to process the change.

This isn’t about free speech

Dorsey said that this “isn’t about free expression.” Rather, it’s “about paying for reach.” And paying to increase the reach of political speech has “significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle,” he said. “It’s worth stepping back in order to address.”