- Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, joined 2020 Democrat Elizabeth Warren in criticising an aspect of Twitter’s new political ad ban.
- On Tuesday, Warren tweeted that Twitter’s new policy “will allow fossil fuel companies to buy ads defending themselves and spreading misleading info – but won’t allow organisations fighting the climate crisis to buy ads holding those companies accountable.”
- Mosseri tweeted that banning political ads “on any platform” would limit “the ability of activists, labour groups, and organisers” from getting their messages across.
- Twitter’s CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey responded by saying that its new rules for political ads have not yet been finalised and concerns about the policy would be looked into before the policy is officially announced on November 15.
- Facebook, which owns Instagram, has been facing scrutiny over its decision not to fact-check paid political ads and it has faced off against Warren.
- Both Facebook and Twitter have recently addressed concerns that the sites are not doing enough to address misinformation, hate speech, and bullying on their platforms.
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Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, tweeted in support of 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s critique of an aspect Twitter’s new political ad policy.
The agreement was notable, given that Warren and Facebook have been sparring over political ad policies and her policies regarding big tech.
Social media heavyweights Twitter and Facebook have both recently announced new policies involving political ads. Facebook said it will not fact-check paid political ads, and the social media platform has been roundly criticised by lawmakers, the media, and the public over its policy, which some say would enable politicians to lie in ads on the platform.
In response to Facebook allowing the false Trump ad to run, Warren slammed Facebook and ran her own false ad. Facebook responded by saying it seeks to protect free speech on the platform.
(Warren and Facebook have also been sparring over the senator’s plan to break up big tech companies, with Mark Zuckerberg saying he would “go to the mat” and fight over Warren’s policies.)
Last week Twitter announced it would ban all political ads from its platform, and the formal policy rollout is expected later this November.
Though many politicians praised Twitter’s decision, on Tuesday Warren took aim at a potential consequence of Twitter’s new policy.
“Twitter’s new ad policy will allow fossil fuel companies to buy ads defending themselves and spreading misleading info – but won’t allow organisations fighting the climate crisis to buy ads holding those companies accountable,” she wrote in a tweet, while responding to a tweet by climate writer Emily Atkin who suggested their were flaws in Twitter’s ad policy.
“We need accountability,” Warren wrote.
In a surprising turn of events, Mosseri responded to Warren’s tweet in and appeared to agree with her.
“This is one of the key issues many miss about banning political ads on any platform. You can’t ban these ads without significantly inhibiting the ability of activists, labour groups, and organisers to make their cases too,” he wrote.
Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey threw himself into the arena, calling Mosseri’s tweet “not exactly right.”
“We gave ourselves until the 15th to make sure we’re addressing concerns like this thoughtfully,” Dorsey tweeted. “More before then!”
Dorsey announced the political ad ban last week in a series of tweets and said a full outline of the policy will be posted on November 15. The announcement was seen as an apparent jab at Facebook, which released its quarterly earnings on the same day.
“This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach,” he wrote.
Warren on Tuesday also tweeted in response to Dorsey’s October 31 policy announcement, saying that major corporations will continue to spend millions in order to spread misleading information.
It turns out if you're a giant corporation with millions to spend misleading people on your record of accelerating the climate crisis, that's exactly what you can—and probably will—do. https://t.co/gV3xIxj7wp
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 5, 2019
Twitter has acknowledged flaws in its new policy, including arguments that say removing paid political advertising in its entirety would benefit incumbents. Dorsey in his announcement said the company understands this challenge and believes that politicians and social movements can “reach massive scale without any political advertising.”
Both Facebook and Twitter have faced scrutiny in recent years for not doing enough to address misinformation, hate speech, and bullying on its platforms. Facebook recently rolled out new policies to address those concerns, including new anti-harassment tools, while Twitter recently unveiled new rules about what constitutes hateful conduct.
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