By: Nick Gambino

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the social media platform would no longer permit political ads of any kind.

Coming directly on the heels of Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that Facebook wouldn’t seek to stop false political ads on its site so as to not curb free speech, Dorsey’s announcement seems to be a direct response to his “rival.”

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

He continued in a series of tweets, laying out why they are making such a broad change to their policies. Dorsey clearly lays out the distinction between support for a political message through organic grassroots adoption and support for a message that has been paid for and placed in your feed, unearned.

These social media giants have each dealt with their own issues on how to stave off abuse and manipulation on their platforms while also not stifling free speech. It’s proven tricky, and that alone proves that they are more than just free speech platforms immune to regulation or oversight.

When you invite more than cute cat videos and Costa Rican vacation pictures, you step on certain triggers which – and this is not an overstatement – can influence entire civilizations. Remember when a certain country infiltrated Facebook and effectively influenced a certain U.S. election way back in 2016?

“This isn’t about free expression,” Dorsey said in another tweet. “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.”

The ban applies to political issue ads as well as campaign ads. The CEO did mention that they would still allow a few exceptions to the rule, like for voter registration ads.

While I can see the benefits of social media, there’s more than one insidious disease making their way through these major platforms that have been allowed to fester for too long. Thankfully the powers that be seem to be making some smart choices that’ll put things on the right track. This is one of them.