SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter said Tuesday it will begin easing a longstanding ban on political ads, allowing advocacy groups and elected officials to resume promotions for specific causes.
Twitter, which was bought by Elon Musk in October, banned some forms of political advertising in 2019. At the time, the company argued that political influence should be earned, not bought, and that politicians win audiences by drumming up genuine interest in what they promote. Have to say rather than spend money to amplify their message.
Mr. Musk has said that one of his goals in taking over Twitter is to loosen rules on the type of content that is allowed on the platform. The billionaire’s approach to content moderation has spooked brands, some of which have suspended spending on Twitter to prevent their ads from appearing alongside controversial tweets. This led to a significant drop in Twitter’s revenue.
Twitter said Tuesday that it will begin allowing cause-based ads, which allow marketers to promote content about political issues. The company said it would expand to other forms of political advertising at a later date. Under its previous administration, Twitter allowed cause-based advertising with some restrictions, including preventing advertisers from using microtargeting to reach specific groups of people.
“We believe cause-based advertising can foster public conversation around important topics,” the company tweeted. “Going forward, we will align our advertising policies with those of television and other media outlets.”
The move could lead to more revenue for Twitter as it tries to lure advertisers back to the platform. There are no national elections scheduled for this year in the United States.
Twitter’s ban on political ads is at odds with the policies of Facebook and other major social media companies, which allow elected officials and candidates to buy ads. The 2019 decision was met with outcry from conservatives and liberals, who argued the restrictions would hamper political movements and unfairly prevent some advocacy groups from spreading their messages.