Twitter is going to “expand” the political advertising it allows on the platform in “the coming weeks,” the Twitter Safety account tweeted on Tuesday. Twitter banned all political advertising in late 2019, but the company is apparently loosening its rules just a couple of months after major ad agencies recommended against buying ads on the platform.
Exactly what will change under the new policies outside of what’s mentioned in the tweet is unclear. But the return of political ads could have a major effect on the platform, especially ahead of the 2024 US presidential election. We asked Twitter for details, but the company has dissolved its press office since Elon Musk took over, so we’re not expecting a response.
However, this isn’t the only advertising change Twitter is announcing on Tuesday. The company is also “relaxing” its policies for “cause-based” ads (i.e., on topics like climate change or social equity) in the US. For this one, we found concrete changes on a Twitter website that indicate what’s changing.
According to this Twitter page, ads have certain restrictions; they are limited to “geo, keyword, and interest targeting,” for example, and shouldn’t “have the primary goal of driving political, judicial, legislative, or regulatory outcomes.” But according to a bullet point added sometime Tuesday (it does not appear in this cached version from earlier in the day), “advertisers whose cause-based ads target only within the United States are exempt from the above-listed restrictions.”
Twitter justifies the change by saying that “cause-based advertising can facilitate public conversation around important topics.” It’s unclear if the rules will be relaxed in places other than the US in the future.
More broadly, Twitter says that it will “align” its advertising policy “with that of TV and other media outlets.” It also says that with any changes, it will “first ensure that our approach to reviewing and approving content protects people on Twitter,” which is perhaps an acknowledgment that it will slow down on drastic changes like the sudden ban on links to competitors that was quickly reversed.