X, formerly known as Twitter, is lifting its ban on political advertising in the US.
The Elon Musk-owned platform famously banished political ads back in 2019 when former CEO Jack Dorsey was still in charge.
Explaining his decision at the time, Dorsey posted: “This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle. It’s worth stepping back in order to address.”
However, less than a year after taking over the platform, Musk has reversed that decision as part of his “commitment to free speech”.
Why we care. If you’re part of a cause-driven organization, this might be good news. But if your brand has nothing to do with politics, it might give you a reason to worry – as you probably wouldn’t want your products and services to be associated with a platform that spreads political messages conflicting with your business’s principles and values.
Why now? The announcement comes after X announced it was relaxing its policy for cause-based ads in the US back in January, hinting that a policy change was on the horizon. Notably, this policy adjustment is occurring slightly over a year ahead of the upcoming US Presidential election.
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What has X said? A spokesperson for X said in a statement:
- “Building on our commitment to free expression, we are going to allow political advertising.”
- “Starting in the US, we’ll continue to apply specific policies to paid-for promoted political posts. This will include prohibiting the promotion of false or misleading content, including false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in an election, while seeking to preserve free and open political discourse.”
- “We’ll also provide a global advertising transparency center so that everyone can review political posts being promoted on X, in addition to robust screening processes to ensure only eligible groups and campaigns are able to advertise.”
Deep dive. Read X’s Safe Political Discourse blog for more information.
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About the author
Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.