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Lifting Ban: X Now Permits Paid Political Ads on Its Platform

X Now Permits Paid Political Ads

This week, Elon Musk’s takeover of the former Twitter has been finalized, and the company is lifting its ban on paid political ads. Back in 2019, Jack Dorsey’s management had initially implemented the ban, claiming that “political message reach should be earned, not bought.”

The company defined “content that references a candidate, political party, elected or appointed government official, election, referendum, ballot measure, legislation, regulation, directive, or judicial outcome” as banned content. This ban included ads that appealed for votes, solicitations of financial support, and advocacy for or against any of the listed types of political content.

On Tuesday, X announced that it will start allowing political advertising as part of its dedication to free expression. This decision may have been driven by the 59% drop in X’s U.S. ad sales year-over-year reported by The New York Times in June. X also mentioned that it will apply specific policies to political ads in the U.S. to ensure transparency and foster public discourse.

X intends to prevent people from promoting false or misleading content or information to undermine public confidence in an election. This likely means viral conspiracies like #sharpiegate or #stopthesteal from past elections will not be tolerated. It is uncertain what action X will take against such measures.

X will host a global advertising transparency center that is open to anyone who wishes to review the paid political ads and posts advertised on X. Meta already provides a similar function. Moreover, X has outlined a “robust” screening process to guarantee that only eligible groups and campaigns can advertise, though they have not shared further details.

X referenced other measures to protect the discourse on the platform, including a Civic Integrity Policy meant to provide an extra layer of protection for a limited period of time before and during an election. X plans to update this policy so it only addresses harmful content, such as voter intimidation or deception, while not inhibiting public debate.

X will add publicly visible labels to any posts that potentially violate the Civic Integrity Policy, so that X users can see when their reach has been restricted. In January, Musk announced plans to expand political advertising after initially allowing cause-based ads in the U.S., such as those that sought to raise awareness about voter registration.

Prior to making any policy changes, we will guarantee that our approach to reviewing and approving content safeguards people on Twitter,” the executive tweeted on Jan. 3.

We will ensure our approach to reviewing and approving content protects people on Twitter. We will provide more details as we continue to progress this work. Additionally, we have already implemented other means of platform moderation, such as the crowd-sourced fact-checking feature Community Notes, which is now available globally in 44 countries and open-sourced.

People on average are now 30% less likely to agree with the substance of a post and less likely to reshare it after reading a Community Note fact-check about it, according to the company. Additionally, they will allow Community Notes on all promoted posts, including paid political ads.