Washington: In a surprising turn of events, X, the social media company formerly known as Twitter, announced on Tuesday its decision to permit political advertising from candidates and political parties within the United States. This move comes as the platform gears up for the 2024 presidential election and seeks to expand its safety and elections team.
The decision marks a significant departure from X’s previous stance. Back in 2019, the company had imposed a global ban on political ads, a policy that remained intact until billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company in October. Following the ownership transition, Twitter opted to lift the ban in January, albeit exclusively for “cause-based ads” aimed at raising awareness about critical issues like voter registration.
However, X’s latest move goes a step further, embracing all forms of political advertising in the U.S. This strategy shift is seen as a potential catalyst for bolstering the company’s revenue, as many advertisers have been wary of being associated with inappropriate content on the platform. By welcoming political ads, X is likely hoping to attract a new stream of advertising revenue, particularly as the 2024 presidential election gains momentum.
In a detailed blog post, X outlined its plans for growth in the wake of this policy alteration. The company articulated its intentions to expand its teams dedicated to countering content manipulation and tackling “emerging threats.” Among the key developments is the establishment of a global advertising transparency center, designed to provide users with insight into the political ads being promoted on the platform. Additionally, X reiterated its commitment to maintaining a ban on political ads that disseminate false information or attempt to undermine public trust in the electoral process.
This decision arrives against a backdrop of prolonged criticism directed at social media platforms, including X, for their perceived inability to effectively curtail the spread of misleading or false content during pivotal elections. Researchers and lawmakers alike have repeatedly called for stronger measures to combat the influence of misinformation on such platforms.
X’s journey towards this pivotal decision has not been without its challenges. Following Musk’s acquisition, the company faced heightened scrutiny regarding its readiness to navigate the complexities of the U.S. presidential election. This scrutiny was exacerbated by the company’s decision to lay off a significant number of employees, including those who had previously been part of the trust and safety team.