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Huge blow to politicians as Twitter bans political ads

Tech savvy Kenyan politicians are staring at bleak times ahead following the move by popular social media platform Twitter, to disallow political advertising effective from Friday, November 15.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took to his Twitter handle on Wednesday, October 30, to announce the watershed move which is set to affect not only Kenyan politicians, but politicians globally who have been using the platform to voice their ideologies, bash their political nemesis and attract huge following.

“We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” said Dorsey.

According to the Twitter boss, the move is intended to prevent politicians misusing the platform to coerce voters to make wrong political decisions which would consequently affect the lives of millions eventually.

“While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions.”

“This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle,” Dorsey said.


While elaborating on the move which will exempt voter registration, Dorsey held that political ads “present entirely new challenges to civic discourse: machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, unchecked misleading information, and deep fakes. All at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.”

In an apparent jab at Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg whose giant platform has been criticized for allowing politicians to hoodwink voters with deceptive ads, Dorsey said the company would reconsider if a politician decided to pay to relay their messages.

‘We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut (sic) if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well…they can say whatever they want!’ “