fbpx
26/05/2020 The Communication Science magazine

Twitter’s Political Ads Ban: Problems Solved?

Twitter recently banned political ads from its platform. A first step in the right direction? But at a closer look, this seems not to be the problem at all.


Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey recently made a controversial announcement regarding the platform’s new policy of banning political ads. His soaring declaration “Freedom of speech is not the same as freedom of reach.” stirred both praises and debate across the political spectrum. This measure is Twitter’s latest effort to limit the influence of politicians on social media and demonstrate its accountability towards democracy. However, is the tech giant contributing to liberal democracy? Or is it solving any problems at all? And what is the problem? 

 

Twitter vs. Facebook: The war of Accountability

Twitter’s newest policy entails the ban of both candidate and issue ads, with specific categorization still in the works. Twitter’s actions have proved how media logic has triumphed over political logic, where social media corporations begin to take responsibility for its political content. Dorsey explained his decision as he tweeted: “While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics.” He further explained how the lack of action could have “significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle.” This bold initiative has received support from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Hillary Clinton after Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg insisted that the company would not fact-check political ads posted on its platforms. Zuckerberg argued: “I don’t think it’s right for private companies to censor political ads or the news” and how it is an “important component of free speech.”

a literal “watchdog” of politics

At a glance, it is apparent how Dorsey indirectly took a jab at its competitor through an impeccable PR strategy that bolsters Twitter’s image. Its attempt is rather revolutionary amidst the current climate as the social media site becomes a literal “watchdog” of politics. This viewpoint is reinforced by Bill Russo, spokesman for the election campaign of Joe Biden, who stated how it is “encouraging that, for once, revenue did not win out.” It was Twitter’s approach of showing how information falsehood can be, to a certain extent, monitored as it internalized the hegemony political ads can have over public discourse and opinion.

 

Twitter’s Ban: Is it problematic? 

Despite many users voicing their approval of the company’s new policy, Twitter still faces criticism and doubts regarding the implications the movement might necessitate. For starter, the definition of what constitutes political and issue ads have caused Twitter massive backlash after the company listed “climate change” as one of the topics it will moderate. This problem poses Twitter’s biggest struggle to categorize and determine the content that it will remove from its platform.

“yet another attempt by the left to silence Trump and conservatives.”

Furthermore, according to The Guardian, Twitter’s ban might gravely harm newly joined candidates whose political presence is limited, “[making] it harder for challengers and newcomers to break into the news cycle.” Not only does the ban put political underdogs at a disadvantage, but many critics have also pointed out how it does not remove “organic tweets” (tweets from individuals, specifically politicians). Statistics showed that paid tweets (political ads) don’t yield as much reach as organic tweets on this social media platform. This loophole undermines the effectiveness of Twitter’s ambitious regulations, as exemplified by how Donald Trump utilizes unpaid organic tweets as his trademark tools to cause public strife and division. Unsurprisingly, after Twitter announced their changes, the manager of Trump’s re-election campaign expressed how the ban is “yet another attempt by the left to silence Trump and conservatives.”

Another flaw that can potentially weaken Twitter’s position is the reality that it is not the main channel for political ads and how “smaller races turn to Facebook and Google for their digital advertising.” While Facebook gains 0.5% of its revenue from political ads (~$350 million), this number shrinks significantly for Twitter, with political ads only generating 0.1% of its revenue (~$3 million), as reported by TechCrunch. Although Twitter’s attempts are admirable, the minuscule proportion of political ads and insufficient management of “organic tweets” indeed raise concerns and questions about the ban’s impact on campaigners after all.

 

The real problem

And they have not yet addressed the main issue. According to TechCrunch, Twitter’s newest course distracts the public from the “structural problems baked into these attention-harvesting Internet platforms.” With the terrifying prominence of “filter bubbles” where social media companies can manipulate our information to make pre-selected personalization, Twitter’s plan isn’t fighting the biased system targeted towards its audience and their privacy.

media companies have proved to hold power and ability to persuade the public

Due to their designs, these social media companies (in)advertently set the agenda for political news and reinforce the audiences’ viewpoints for profit. In the worst case, these companies and their policies around custom ad targeting can “incentivize[s] extremist messages.” With this issue pointed out, social media platforms, including Twitter, are guilty of masquerading their control in shaping society’s political judgment as demonstrated by significant sociopolitical implications. Yet again, these media companies have proved to hold power and ability to persuade the public and control the narrative in favor of lawmakers that pay them to promote political agenda.

 

Where do we go from here?

Nonetheless, according to Wired, Twitter displays how Facebook’s answer to tightening political influence on its platform is not satisfactory and how media companies can strive to achieve more reasonable and moderate policies in its code of conduct. Dorsey’s decision has not solved the problem but regardless sparked public discussion of the ethical data use of social media companies. The ban raises the question of the level of accountability that social media platforms are required to accept in the digital age, where their influence can render the political atmosphere and social reality.

Cover: Shawn Campbell via Flickr

Reacties

reacties

Related Posts

An Ode to Us

26/05/2020

26/05/2020

Kyle shares an uplifting reflection on why younger generations should be acknowledged for their effort in fighting against the spread of CO-VID19.

Lucifer: Bringer of Divine Epiphanies

21/05/2020

21/05/2020

Andrada dives into the infernal territory as she discusses the meaning behind the show Lucifer.

The Art of Photography in the Days of Corona: Interview with Berk Kır

18/05/2020

18/05/2020

In this article, Melike interviews photographer Berk Kır about his art in the days of corona.

GRLSWIRL: Girls Power Swirls On Four Wheels

18/05/2020

18/05/2020

Cecilia tells all about this revolutionary all-girls skateboarding community GRLSWIRL, that has gone worldwide.

The TikTok Challenges You Should Try Right Now

15/05/2020

15/05/2020

In this article, Hope gives helpful tips on how to entertain yourself with the newest trend, TikTok.

Call Me Maybe

11/05/2020

11/05/2020

Do you remember what it is like to make a phone call? Do you even remember how to make one? Margarete refreshes your memory and gives some practical advice to keep in touch the primal way.

Visualizing the Unseen: An Interview with Shivani Bharadwaj

10/05/2020

10/05/2020

The story of a powerful woman; Shivani Bharadwaj, and how she manages to light a hope in her dearest student's life with the help of arts.

Talk Show Hosts Fighting a Lonely Audience-less Battle in Quarantined Homes

10/05/2020

10/05/2020

The big Late Night Talk show hosts had to shift their programs to their private homes. Medium explains how they struggle but also succeed with the absence of live audiences.

Confettiregen: het boek waarvan je hoopt dat iedereen het zal lezen

08/05/2020

08/05/2020

Confettiregen is het nieuwe boek van Splinter Chabot waarin hij vertelt over zijn eigen coming-out. Loïs vertelt over het boek en hoopt dat iedereen het gaat lezen.

Quarantine Photocolumn Special #1: Work Stations

06/05/2020

06/05/2020

For Medium Magazine's first collaborative photocolumn, the theme is work stations. As students are working and doing their coursework from home during the pandemic, they have to make use of what is available to them. Writers, editors and the editorial board (who recently won the Medium Pub quiz), all pitch in to show where their work stations at home.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Activism

05/05/2020

05/05/2020

This article explores the positive side of Fandoms, specifically The Harry Potter Alliance. By asking themselves, ‘What would Albus do?’ Harry Potter fans are making a difference.

Backstage Interview With Gilda Bruno

03/05/2020

03/05/2020

Gilda, former Audiovisuals Chief for Medium, shares her experience on what it has been like to work for DAZED Media as part of her internship placement.

15 stages of a short-lived relationship according to ‘Dedicated’

02/05/2020

02/05/2020

A year after its release, Danny takes another look at Carly Rae Jepsen's vivacious album 'Dedicated', which covers a truly recognizable lovestory.

Digital Proctoring: A New Era in Student Surveillance

01/05/2020

01/05/2020

The shift to online education has changed the learning experience of students from all academic levels. As higher-education institutions insist on maintaining exam evaluations, this calls for digital proctoring. Although digital proctoring may not sound menacing, Karina delves into its implications and potential privacy breaches.

The War Zone of K-Pop Twitter

01/05/2020

01/05/2020

While many enjoy Korean Pop only for the music, the fans on Twitter seem to focus on everything else. Emma provides an outline of the latest K-Pop drama.

mersin escort mersin escort mersin escort canlı tv konya escort
mersin escort