As you’ve probably read, X has made the decision to reverse course and begin accepting political ads again. The platform, FKA Twitter, argued in part that it is “Supporting people’s right to accurate and safe political discourse on X.”
The platform says it will have all sorts of checks and mechanisms in place to make sure no false or misleading information is disseminated on the platform via political ads.
And if that’s the company’s stand, well, what could possibly go wrong?
I think Jack Dorsey spelled out quite articulately in a series of tweets what could go wrong back in 2019 when he and his team then leading Twitter implemented the ban on political advertising.
“We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” Dorsey tweeted at the time. “Why? A few reasons.”
“For instance, it‘s not credible for us to say: “We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well...they can say whatever they want!”
He also noted that “Internet 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,” Dorsey tweeted. “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.”
Seems to me Dorsey’s reasoning remains just as sound today as it was four years ago. But as we all know, it’s not his call to make anymore.