A new source of money: Twitter allows political advertising again

Before the recent US presidential election, Twitter had banned political advertising. Now Elon Musk wants to allow it again. The platform needs money.

More than three years after Twitter banned political advertising from its own platform, it is now to be allowed again. With the step that has now been announced, the platform of US billionaire Elon Musk apparently wants to secure new sources of income after many customers had stopped advertising in view of the chaos of the past few weeks. In addition, Twitter is lifting restrictions that applied to social issues advertising – if it is aimed at users in the United States. This could open public debates on important issues, Twitter explains the step.

The ban on political advertising was introduced by the then Twitter boss Jack Dorsey at the end of October 2019: “Attention to political content must be earned, not paid for,” he justified the step at the time. The background, however, was above all the debate about the influence of social networks on US politics and the approaching presidential election campaign in the USA. This had been criticized by the camp of then-President Donald Trump.

Twitter continues to justify the now partially relaxed guidelines for advertising on social issues by saying that ads should not be used to “achieve political, legal, legislative or regulatory success”. At the same time, however, they could facilitate public debate. That’s why there are actually stricter requirements for this, so the geo-targeting of the target group must not be too detailed. In addition, the target group must not be selected using specific terms, for example with regard to the respective political classification. Ads targeting only regions within the United States are no longer subject to these guidelines.

Overall, the guidelines for advertising on Twitter would thus be more closely aligned with the practice of television stations and other media, the social network explains. The short message service has been struggling with the flight of important advertising partners since it was taken over by Elon Musk and the ensuing chaos. In order to save costs, Musk has already laid off thousands of employees, some of whom are no longer even paying the rent for the office space used. A lawsuit has now been filed against the company in San Francisco. Because savings are being made at every turn, there is sometimes not even enough for toilet paper.

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