Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announces worldwide ban on political advertising:
We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons…🧵
— jack 🌍🌏🌎 (@jack) October 30, 2019
“A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money. While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions. 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…”
A cynic might add that Twitter made little money out of political advertising compared to Facebook…
The Liberal Democrats have geared up for the upcoming general election with a whopping £12,205 being spent on Facebook in the last week, more than every other major party put together. Labour and the Tories lag behind at £2,812 and £3,111 respectively. The SNP and The Brexit Party clearly haven’t got the memo, both failing to spend anything so far. Has anyone told Carole yet?
Like almost every millennial, Mhairi Black was tweeting nonsense last night. Her target? The very standard Tory operation to gather data on sympathetic voters. Linking to a CCHQ-run website called ‘Get Brexit Done – Tell your MP to back an election‘, Black wrote:
“The Tories have launched a data mining website called get-brexit-done.com
Under the giant SEND button there’s then some tiny text explaining that by clicking the giant send button, you’re consenting to CCHQ emailing you everything they’re up to, which seems dubious at best.”
SNP MPs and MSP piled in on the shocking discovery, condemning the non-branded data mining and the emails it sent to remain MPs. The same MPs who, until 2018, were responsible for a website called www.ref.scot – a totally unbranded website bar a tiny sentence at the bottom saying it was promoted by the SNP.
The SNP also have six campaigns running on their own party’s website, which similarly collect your name, email address and postcode once you press SEND. The greatest hypocrisy, however, is the SNP criticising the Tories’ data strategy, when only one year ago they were found out to have been buying data on British voters from NationBuilder for seven years – a company accused by Facebook of violating its users’ privacy.
In good news for online voyeurs, the new Government has announced it will not press ahead with Theresa May’s planned porn laws, legislation that would have brought in draconian restrictions on what websites people can freely access. In a written statement today, DCMS Secretary Nicky Morgan said:
“The government has concluded that this objective of coherence will be best achieved through our wider online harms proposals and, as a consequence, will not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 concerning age verification for online pornography”
“The Digital Economy Act objectives will therefore be delivered through our proposed online harms regulatory regime. This course of action will give the regulator discretion on the most effective means for companies to meet their duty of care.”
The Adam Smith Institute, which helped lead the campaign to abolish the authoritarian policy is delighted with the policy reversion, which was it has to be said was a long time coming , telling Guido
“Millions of Brits can rest easier tonight as the government finally takes its sticky fingers out of people’s private lives. The porn laws were destined to fail and were a PR nightmare for a party that says it believes in individual liberty, personal and parental responsibility.”
“It’s great news for all of us that the government is no longer in the grip of patrician politicians that don’t understand the Internet.”
Freedom is winning….
Since 2012 Sunder Katwala and Guido have been promoting the idea of the last Friday in August being one day of positive exchanges on Twitter. The political Twittersphere in particular can be a horrible nasty place, what with the culture wars and political extremists generally being unpleasant. Brexit has made even usually reasonable people bad tempered. None of us are immune from negativity, Guido is a repeat offender. Wouldn’t it be pleasantly calming if, for at least one day, we all tried to be nice and civil in our tweets? We sorely need to try again…
Last year a lot of mental health charities got involved and helped spread the message, this year Twitter are hosting an event at their London HQ. Spread a bit of civility in these polarised times. Twitter can be a place for the exchange of information rather than the abuse of political opponents. It is not just pay day on Friday, it is #PositiveTwitterDay. Let’s try for one day to make Twitter a positive experience for everyone…
To tweet your support just click this link: #PositiveTwitterDay