Twitter announced it will begin enforcing a new policy for US-specific issue ads starting September 30, along with a new certification process for the advertisers promoting such ads. The move is part of the company’s initiative to improve the health of its platform and rid its feed of bad actors looking to influence US political elections.
According to the announcement the new policy will apply to ads that refer to an election or a clearly identified candidate; or, ads that advocate for legislative issues of national importance.
“Examples of legislative issues of national importance include topics such as abortion, civil rights, climate change, guns, healthcare, immigration, national security, social security, taxes, and trade. These are the top-level issues we are considering under this policy, and we expect this list to evolve over time,” wrote Twitter’s VP of trust and safety, Del Harvey, and the head of revenue products, Bruce Falck.
Any advertisers aiming to promote ads related to the listed topics will have to be certified by Twitter, verifying their identify and US location.
News publishers running ads on Twitter that report on such issues (versus advocating for them) can be exempted from this policy — to do so, the news organization will have to apply for exemption and meet specific criteria. The news organization has to provide its name, website and a contact name, in addition to links to the editorial staff page and archive.
Once an advertiser has been certified to run an issue ad, the ad will include a “Promoted (issue)” label along with the person or organization that purchased the ad and a link to more information.
Any advertiser running issue-based ads that fails to get certified by September 30 will have their ad campaigns halted until they complete the certification process.
Issue ads on Twitter will be included in the company’s Ads Transparency Center, the searchable archive of all ads that have run on Twitter during the previous seven-day period. Unlike Facebook — which put its political and issue-based ads under the same policy — Twitter’s issue ads policy is separate from the Political Campaigning Policy it launched in May. (Although both require the advertisers running the ads must be located in the US and must be certified by Twitter.)
In July, Twitter’s header of product Kayvon Beykpour announced via a Tweet that the company was pausing work on its verification process to put its full efforts on making the platform safer as the US midterm elections in November draw nearer. At the time, Beykpour said election integrity was Twitter’s highest priority.