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Will Twitter really reverse the political ad ban?

Twitter has reversed course on banning political ads, but will that ever actually happen?

twitter, owned by elon musk, on phone showing blue verification checkmark

Once again, we’ve found Twitter in the headlines. It’s been a tumultuous couple of months since Elon Musk took over. We’ve seen layoffs, an extraordinary amount of resignations, weird ultimatums, and failed roll outs on new features.

The rough waters have caused some of Twitter’s top advertisers to either pause or completely withdraw their ads from the microblogging platform, no doubt causing an impactful financial blow to the company. Now, Twitter is reversing course on its political ad ban that it set back in 2019. 

Previously, Twitter took the stance that “political message reach should be earned, not bought,” but Musk’s singing a different tune in hopes that the reversal will bring some much-needed relief to the company’s pocketbook. Musk has routinely spoken against censorship, so this move makes perfect sense, especially given the timing. 

As we settle into a new year, we inch closer and closer to the 2024 elections. Now is the time for candidates to allocate where their marketing funds will go, and we expect to see more than a few head to Twitter to expand their reach.

In 2019, Twitter’s then-CFO Ned Segal stated that political ads only totaled to around $3 million during the 2018 United States midterm election season. While this amount may not be groundbreaking for a massive corporation such as Twitter, it seems as if the company is eager to get a buck where they can.

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Twitter his said they will also relax guidelines surrounding cause-based ads involving topics like social justice and environmental protection, despite Musk blaming “activist groups” for putting pressure on advertisers to suspend ads just a couple of months ago.

Previously, Twitter allowed these types of ads, but restricted some features, such as allowing the creator to use target audience filters for their campaign.

Recently, Twitter’s Safety team tweeted, “We believe that cause-based advertising can facilitate public conversation around important topics. Today, we’re relaxing our ads policy for cause-based ads in the US. We also plan to expand the political advertising we permit in the coming weeks.”

In true Elon Musk form, we don’t have many details on how or when these changes will take place. At this time, we’re not even clear on how the platform will combat misinformation and false advertising, or how it will determine if a cause-based ad is safe for release. And it leaves us wondering if any of this will happen at all or if this is a stall tactic from Musk as he grapples with recouping ad revenues. 

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Jennifer is a native Houstonian (go Astros!) with a knack for creating digital works of art. She has expansive experience creating content and branded collateral for Fortune 500 companies, as well as small local businesses. When she’s not buried in her laptop, Jennifer is the marketing director for a world championship circuit barbecue cook off team and pet mom to dog (Milo) and Guinea pig (Piggy Smalls).

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