For most of the Indian countrymen, involving in politics is equivalent to either working for the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party. There is an eternal animosity between the followers of these two parties, with the workers of other parties being small fishes in the vast Indian ocean of politics. In the race to garner the maximum number of followers and to gain wide acceptance, every political party is taking the help of all kinds of medium, as much as possible. Social media is the latest tool to do so, and the recent decision of Twitter to ban political ads is a big blow to the political scenario in India. Other countries, with democracy as the form of government, will also suffer a setback.
Communication by political parties is a crucial part of every country’s democratic system. Political campaigning is the most pronounced form of political communication. The political parties take the help of various kinds of media to reach out to the voters and try to influence them with their agendas and promises.
There has been a paradigm shift of political communication from mere news to advertising. The public now is subjected to a huge number of campaigns during each phase of election in the form of media like radio, television, newspapers, etc. The latest trend in the domain of political advertising is social media, i.e., the use of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other channels.
When such is the dependence of the political parties on social media, the decision of Twitter to ban political advertising will increase the pressure on other forms of social media. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, announced this policy on Wednesday.
The implementation will come into effect from 22nd November and will apply to all global electioneering advertisements. Not only advertisements, but there will also be a restriction in every kind of news related to political issues. The UK snap election will be the first event to feel the effects.
Facebook and controversies
The decision of Twitter to ban political ads comes in the wake of Facebook getting embroiled in controversies related to political campaigns. Facebook recently decided to exempt advertisements from third-party fact-checking politicians. It has also implemented a policy to ban false statements from paid endorsements.
Jack Dorsey, attributed his decision of banning political ads, to the series of convoluted arguments that have been put forward by Facebook, over the past few weeks.
Dorsey had well-articulated reasons for banning the political Twitter advertising campaign. He mentioned that money should not influence political messages. In this way, the party having the capacity to spend a higher amount of money will have a significant social influence. These manipulations often involve the advanced forms of digital advertising, machine learning, and micro-targeting to spread fake videos that appear real. These videos misinform the voters as well as create a negative social impact.
He puts forth his argument by supporting his decision, telling that improper use of social media, gave challenges to the civic rights of people and the righteous path it should follow. He mentions that the democratic systems of the present world are not well-equipped to handle the significant effects, political mishandling would have.
When Facebook is saying that they are trying their best to stop people from manipulating their systems but are surrendering to payments made by political parties to target the voters, the step taken by Dorsey is indeed a remarkable move.
The decision of Twitter to ban political ads has also received flaks from certain segments of society. An assistant professor of communication at the Cornell University, J Nathan Matias, has put forward the fact that this decision could also result in some negative impacts like the campaigns using bots and “hybrid human software coordination.”