Twitter limits targeted distribution of tweets


Issues such as social justice can no longer be seen by advertisers in individual ZIP code areas.

(Photo: Reuters)

San Francisco Twitter restricts how fine-tuned individual user groups can be specifically addressed with messages on social issues. In the future, it will no longer be possible to display tweets, such as social justice or environmental protection, as ads to users in certain postcode areas. When choosing the target categories you will not be able to use terms like “conservatives” or “liberals”, as Twitter announced on Friday.

The new measures are part of the implementation of the announced prohibition to disseminate political messages as advertising. With these additions Twitter wants to close one year before the presidential election in the US possible loopholes.

In the 2016 US election campaign, much of the Russian-led influence campaign was about deepening tensions in the American people. Therefore, messages on issues such as racism, social justice, refugee policy or immunization were advertised to specific user groups. For example, a fine-grained postcode location can often reach certain social or ethnic groups.

“We believe that reach for political messages needs to be earned rather than being bought,” said Twitter boss Jack Dorsey, explaining the global end to political advertising in late October. The new regulation is scheduled to start on 22 November. Advertisements on Twitter include tweets that can be placed in the message stream by users for a fee – even if they do not follow this account.

Politically, Twitter views content that includes elections, referendums, electoral candidates, political parties, laws, regulation, and elected or appointed government politicians. The short message service published its definitions as announced on Friday – one week before the start of the advertising stop.

More: Twitter does not want to make money anymore with political advertising. That makes the Internet better, says Handelsblatt editor Larissa Holzki.

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