Twitter has announced it will allow political advertising back onto its platform in an apparent attempt to increase revenue for the reeling social media giant.
Restrictions on political ads had been in place since 2019 when former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey expressed his belief that “political message reach should be earned, not bought.”
Now, in the ongoing aftermath of Twitter’s acquisition by free-speech warrior Elon Musk, the platform will once again allow cause-based political advertising to be shared with its users.
In reversing the ban, Twitter said that “cause-based advertising can facilitate public conversation around important topics” and that the change will align the platform’s advertising policy with those of “TV and other media outlets,” all the while omitting important details and an official timeline for the changes.
The policy change will now align Twitter with its top competitors, such as Meta’s Facebook and Google‘s YouTube, which both allow paid political content. Last March, Facebook lifted its ban on political and social issue ads that were put in place after the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
The exception to the rule is ByteDance’s TikTok, which despite being a political target, does not allow political advertising.
Since Musk’s takeover of Twitter in October several major advertisers have pulled away from the platform, followed closely by a boom in hate-fueled rhetoric and the reinstatement of many controversial accounts and right-wing personalities.
This advertising exodus could be the motivating force behind lifting the political ad ban, as it would likely bring in more revenue for the platform. But if history is any indication, the potential revenue would likely may little difference in Twitter’s public financial woes.
In 2019, Twitter’s former Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal tweeted that political advertising accounted for less than $3 million in the 2018 midterm cycle. Twitter’s total revenue was $3 billion in 2018.
As Musk continues to find ways to justify his $44 billion Twitter bill, the platform will likely continue to search for new revenue streams, possibly at the expense of user experience.