Political advertisements will return on Twitter in the coming weeks while the issue-based paid content would be immediately allowed on the platform, the company said Tuesday announcing its plans to lift its restrictions on political ads.
In a tweet that marked the reversal of course, Twitter Safety’s account announced the changes noting the company believes that cause-based advertising can facilitate the public conversation around important topics in the US.
Ever since Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media giant last October, advertisers have been fleeing the platform in droves, especially after several previously banned right-wing accounts were reinstated and the hate speech spiked on Twitter.
Following Musk’s free-wheeling approach to content moderation, major advertisers have backed away from Twitter whose revenue – 90 percent of it- was coming from advertising so lifting the ban on political advertising could be another source of revenue for the company on top of the revamped version of an $8 monthly Twitter Blue subscription service Musk launched late last year.
The only remaining platform now that still has a ban on political advertising is ByteDance’s TikTok since other major social media companies – such as Meta’s Facebook and Google’s YouTube – allow paid political content so Twitter’s latest move puts it in alignment with them.
The reversal of the November 2019 bans on advertisements from politicians and issue-based groups – the latest in a series of Musk moves that have reversed policies put in place under former CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey- could potentially lead to more revenue for the platform.
Twitter also plans to expand political advertising though no specific time frame beyond weeks has been set for that.
Before banning all political ads, Dorsey warned in a Twitter thread in October 2019 that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle the significant ramifications stemming from paying for political reach.
Besides that, political advertising accounted for less than $3 million in the 2018 midterm cycle, Twitter’s former Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal pointed out at the time, noting that Twitter’s total revenue in 2018 was $3 billion.