X has made a significant announcement this week by confirming that it will be lifting its ban on paid political ads, a move that Twitter resorted to earlier this year. This decision is a departure from X’s original stance on this matter, which was implemented in 2019 under the leadership of then-CEO Jack Dorsey.
At the time, X justified its ban on political ads by stating that “political message reach should be earned, not bought.” The ban covered a wide range of content, including ads that referenced candidates, political parties, elected officials, elections, referendums, and legislative outcomes, among others.
In an effort to enhance freedom of expression, X has now decided to allow political advertising on its platform. However, it is worth noting that the company will continue to enforce specific policies for paid political ads in the United States. These policies aim to prevent the promotion of false or misleading content that could undermine public confidence in elections. Viral conspiracies, similar to those seen in past elections, will not be tolerated under the new rules.
In addition to lifting the ban, X is taking measures to ensure transparency and eligibility for political ads. The company plans to launch a global advertising transparency center where users can review promoted political posts. X also intends to implement a robust screening process to only allow eligible groups and campaigns to advertise, although detailed information about this process is yet to be provided.
To safeguard the discourse on its platform, X is introducing a Civic Integrity Policy, which will provide an extra layer of protection before and during elections. However, the company is also loosening its control over speech, aiming to focus on harmful content such as voter intimidation and deception, rather than censoring public debate.
In order to inform users about restricted reach, X will add publicly visible labels to posts that potentially violate the Civic Integrity Policy. This will give users knowledge of when their posts have been limited in reach.
X is lifting its ban on paid political ads, distinguishing itself from its competitor Twitter. The company aims to balance freedom of expression on its platform while also implementing policies to prevent the promotion of false or misleading political content. Transparency and eligibility measures will be put in place to ensure the responsible use of political advertising.
X’s announcement also highlighted other moderation measures, including the global availability of Community Notes, a fact-checking feature. Community Notes has proven to be effective in reducing agreement with and resharing of posts after users read fact-checks. X plans to allow Community Notes on all promoted posts, including paid political ads.