Twitter’s political ads ban limits freedom of expression

By Naomi Baron

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According to New York Times, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted on Oct. 30 that Twitter will no longer allow political advertisements of any kind on their social media site.

While Twitter’s intentions with the newest censorship do include some rational thinking, like limiting fake news, this ban limits the freedom of expression of its users, and specifically political figures.

Twitter’s announcement comes after public scrutiny of the company and of Facebook for their publishing of “fake” political ads and lack of filtering posts, a subject that has been under heavy inquiry since the 2016 presidential election. 

Facebook has adopted a no-filter policy while Twitter has created a heavily-filtered platform in which the information candidates transmit is censored. The reality in a free society is that no filter is better than too much filter. ”

Twitter may be attempting to save itself from Facebook’s past mistakes of allowing bots and fake accounts to spread fake news. However, while Twitter is working on their mistakes, the company has taken their position to the extreme. This ban takes away from the free exchange of opinions and the marketplace of ideas. 

Twitter is a large platform for all people — from major political figures to the common person — to spread the word about current events and share opinions through political posts. The platform also provides users the ability to keep up with opinions of candidates and become more educated on the topics candidates are passionate about. 

With this new ban, Twitter is stripping users — specifically candidates — of their right to freely express themselves. Candidates will no longer be able to showcase their beliefs through ads, and users will not be able to evaluate the opinions of others. 

Not only does the ban limit users’ rights to free speech, but it also contains ramifications for the candidates’ futures. The new ban will make it harder for candidates to be active with the public. Especially during the heated upcoming elections, it is vital that candidates publicly share problems they see and solutions they are ardent about.

In fact, it is the duty of social media platforms to assist candidates in helping them communicate their opinions and solutions effectively to the public. At the end of the day, the goal is to elect the best candidate possible. A necessary step in reaching this ultimate goal is to spread the news to as many people as possible. 

Ads posted on Twitter provide a way for citizens who do not watch or read the news to continue receive updates on the current political problems and opinions of candidates. Without the use of political ads, some citizens will be deprived of their main first-hand news source. 

It is wrong to limit the platform in which candidates communicate, censor the information candidates want to publicize or block one of the main sources from which people receive the news. 

After all, it seems, social media platforms can never get it right. Facebook has adopted a no-filter policy while Twitter has created a heavily-filtered platform in which the information candidates transmit is censored. The reality in a free society is that no filter is better than too much filter. 

CNBC news reported that Twitter’s stock has decreased more than 1 percent since its newest ban on political ads. Rightfully so, people do not want to use a platform where their right to free speech is not respected.

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