In the wake of recent revelation about external influences especially from Russia on the last US Presidential election, Twitter has vowed to be more transparent in its dealings with the public. The microblogging giant has promised to start disclosing more information about sponsors of political ads—and is therefore launching a new platform to check politically motivated ads.
The changes according to Twitter’s GM Revenue Product and Engineering, Bruce Falck, will roll out in the coming weeks. It will offer every user on the platform an “visibility” into what is happening behind every ad they see on the microblogging website. Users will also be empowered with the right tools to send feedback to Twitter about the ads they see running on the platform.
The “Transparency Center” as Twitter calls it, will show the following:
- All ads that are currently running on Twitter, including Promoted-Only ads.
- How long ads have been running.
- Ad creative associated with those campaigns.
- Ads targeted to you, as well as personalized information on which ads you are eligible to receive based on targeting.
The idea behind the new center is to present users with an opportunity to report inappropriate ads or give negative feedback about any ad they think they don’t like. With this, the company said it will be able to improve on the kind of ads it allows on its platform and show users ads that are more relevant in their timeline.
So, what are politically motivated ads? Falck tells us in a blog post:
“Electioneering ads are those that refer to a clearly identified candidate (or party associated with that candidate) for any elected office.* To make it clear when you are seeing or engaging with an electioneering ad, we will now require that electioneering advertisers identify their campaigns as such. We will also change the look and feel of these ads and include a visual political ad indicator.”
The Transparency Center will feature a section that will cater to electioneering ads that will include:
All ads that are currently running or that have run on Twitter, including Promoted-Only ads
- Disclosure on total campaign ad spend by advertiser.
- Transparency about the identity of the organization funding the campaign.
- Targeting demographics, such as age, gender and geography.
- Historical data about all electioneering ad spending by advertiser.
So much for politically motivated ads; Twitter is also going all out to make sure everyone is carried along when it comes to issue-based ads. Since there is no acceptable definition for issue-based ads, the company has promised to work together with various partners and interest groups to define what is acceptable and what is not.
The changes will take place in the US in the next couple of weeks before Twitter takes it to other regions. Google reportedly uncovered how Russia-linked accounts bought election ads on its network. Russian operatives invested tens of thousands of dollars on ads on Gmail, YouTube and Google Search products. This, according to Reuters, was done to meddle in the last presidential election in the US.