Twitter Says Ban on Political Ads Excludes Those Related to Social Causes, Such as Gun Control and Abortion

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The Twitter app is seen on a phone in a file photo. (Credit: DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images)

The Twitter app is seen on a phone in a file photo. (Credit: DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images)

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Twitter says its new ban on political ads will cover appeals for votes, solicitations for campaign contributions and any political content.

Twitter is defining political content to include any ad that references a candidate, political party, government official, ballot measure, or legislative or judicial outcome. The ban also applies to all ads — even non-political ones — from candidates, political parties and elected or appointed government officials.

However, Twitter is allowing ads related to social causes such as climate change, gun control and abortion. People and groups running such ads won’t be able to target those ads down to a user’s ZIP code or use political categories such as “conservative” or “liberal.” Rather, targeting must be kept broad, such as based on a user’s state or province.

News organizations will be exempt so they can promote stories that cover political issues.

Twitter announced its ban on political ads last month, but didn’t release details until Friday.

Response to Twitter’s ban has been strong and mixed, with critics questioning the company’s ability to enforce the new policy given its poor history banning hate speech and abuse from its service. The company acknowledges it will make mistakes but says it’s better to start addressing the issue now rather than wait until all the kinks are worked out.

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