Enlarge (credit: Twitter)
In light of recent Russia-related disclosures, American politicians have begun weighing in on the lack of transparency in the world of politically motivated online ads. On Tuesday, Twitter chose to get ahead of potential political and legal action by announcing plans to open its advertising disclosure process in a big way.
A blog post titled “New Transparency for Ads on Twitter” detailed coming changes to “political” and “issue-based” advertising on the site. Political ads received a specific focus, and new rules will apply to any ads that fall under the FEC’s definition of political or “electioneering” ads. The interesting stuff here is how much data Twitter will force any political advertisers to disclose, including the following: exactly how much money a single advertiser has spent, other ad campaigns run by the same organization, and all targeting demographics (gender, age, geography).
Twitter used this sample ad design to show how political ads would look different from others. The biggest difference we can see here is purple branding. (credit: Twitter)
That kind of cost-breakdown data is the sort of “how does online advertising work” sausage that social media companies generally avoid disclosing. Twitter GM Bruce Falck makes it pretty clear why Twitter would do so, because in the announcement, he cites by name every Senator and House member behind last week’s Honest Ads Act. That bipartisan bill would force social media companies to disclose pretty much all of that aforementioned data.
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