HOT TOPIC: PEN America Cautiously Welcomes Twitter Political Ad Policy, Says More Details Needed; Zuckerberg Says It’s Not All About Money, It’s About Free-Speech

Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, in 2009 / Brian Solis, www.briansolis.com / bub.blicio.us under CC BY 2.0

We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons… A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money. While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions. nternet political ads present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale. These challenges will affect ALL internet communication, not just political ads. Best to focus our efforts on the root problems, without the additional burden and complexity taking money brings. Trying to fix both means fixing neither well, and harms our credibility” … Dorsey Status Update Tweets October 30, 2019 MORE



Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced  yesterday that the platform will no longer accept paid political advertising. PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel issued the following statement:

“We respect Twitter’s decision to take a pause from running political advertising, recognizing that such ads on social media can have powerful distorting effects on public discourse. We cannot risk a repeat of the 2016 election where the scourge of misinformation raised serious questions about whether the Democratic process could be trusted. As a private platform, it is reasonable for Twitter to take the time to figure out whether and how the manifest ill consequences of micro-targeted ads can be mitigated. While political ads represent an important part of our democratic discourse, online advertising methods pose unique concerns that lawmakers, companies, and civil society are only beginning to understand, much less address. We welcome Twitter’s willingness to put responsibility above revenue in seeking to prevent its platform from misleading voters and polluting the democratic process.

“Still, we recognize that there are many unanswered questions and that this policy may have some unintended consequences, including, for example, advancing incumbents who rely less on ads. While we reserve judgement on how it may play out, we commend the effort to protect democratic deliberations and emphasize the role of ideas, language, and creativity – rather than money – as tools in the battle of ideas.”



Zuckerberg in 2005 courtesy of Elaine Chan and Priscilla Chan – Derived from: File:MarkZuckerberg.jpg under CC BY 2.5

“Right now, the content debate is about political ads. Should we block political ads with false statements? Should we block all political ads? Google, YouTube and most internet platforms run these same ads, most cable networks run these same ads, and of course national broadcasters are required by law to run them by FCC regulations. I think there are good reasons for this. In a democracy, I don’t think it’s right for private companies to censor politicians or the news. And although I’ve considered whether we should not carry these ads in the past, and I’ll continue to do so, on balance so far I’ve thought we should continue. Ads can be an important part of voice — especially for candidates and advocacy groups the media might not otherwise cover so they can get their message into debates. And it’s hard to define where to draw the line. Would we really block ads for important political issues like climate change or women’s empowerment? Instead, I believe the better approach is to work to increase transparency. Ads on Facebook are already more transparent than anywhere else. We have a political ads archive so anyone can scrutinize every ad that’s run — you can see every message, who saw it, how much was spent — something that no TV or print media does.” Mark Zuckerberg in his Community Update and quarterly results MORE

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This post is complied with details from PEN America, Twitter, Facebook, and Wikipedia

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.



Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

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Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


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