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Snapchat plays smart with political ads policy, Evan Spiegel stresses on importance of fact-checking

The CEO said Snapchat doesn’t allow things like misinformation to appear in political advertising.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 21, 2019, 05.18 PM IST
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​Snapchat ​subjects all advertising to review, including political advertising.​
Snapchat subjects all advertising to review, including political advertising.
Twitter and Facebook have taken opposing stands on political ads. Snapchat seems to have found a middle ground. Facebook will continue to sell political ads in the run up to the U.S. Presidential elections in 2020, while Twitter has decided to forego revenue from ads, some of which border on misinformation and spear campaigns meant to malign candidates. Fact-checking ads remain a tedious and expensive task, prompting some social networks to abandon them altogether as the costs would overrun income. Others have decided to take the easy way out.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel believes politicians ought to be fact-checked, saying in an interview to CNBC that his company subjects all advertising to review, including political advertising. “I think what we try to do is create a place for political ads on our platform, especially because we reach so many young people and first-time voters we want them to be able to engage with the political conversation, but we don’t allow things like misinformation to appear in that advertising,” he said.

Public attention was stirred when Facebook ran a political ad by U.S. President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign that targeted Joe Biden. The allegations made by Trump proved to be baseless and unfounded. Social media platforms have come under enhanced scrutiny in the ensuing months over the reluctance to moderate deliberate misinformation spread by political candidates. Facebook replied saying it was not company policy to fact-check ads, including those by political campaigns.

“Our approach is grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and the belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is,” Katie Harbath, Facebook’s public policy director for global elections, said in a statement.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey subsequently tweeted that his company would remove all political ads from its platform from November 22. There were hitherto two sets of rules for regulating cause-based and political ads on Twitter. However, it is unclear whether Twitter and Snapchat would’ve acted differently if the quantum of ads revenue from political campaigns were in the same ballpark as that of Facebook.

Throughout the U.S. midterm election season, Twitter earned USD 3 million from political ads, while Snapchat made a paltry USD 200,000 in ad revenue from 2020 Democratic candidates, as per a report by Open Secrets, a non-profit, nonpartisan research group based in Washington, D.C.

Facebook, Twitter Instagram: Tips & Tricks To Keep Social Media Private

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Protect Data

21 Feb, 2019
It seems counter intuitive – after all, social media helps you share your opinions and speak to a larger audience. But thanks to rampant identity theft and online stalking, there is a solid argument to be made to target your social posts instead of keeping them public. Karan Bajaj shows you how.

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