Twitter announced on Tuesday new transparency measures for advertising served on its platform. Some of the measures, like a new Transparency Center, will affect all advertising while other measures are designed to provide specific information regarding political ads. Electioneering ads, or ads that advocate for a specific candidate, will have a special designation noting that they are political ads and have further disclosures in their special section in the Transparency Center.
Twitter also announced its intention to regulate issue-based ads similarly to political ads, but acknowledged that no definition of issue ads currently exists.
The Transparency Center will have information on all ads that are currently running on Twitter and the duration of the ad. Political ads will have further information such as the total ad spend, the identity of the sponsoring organization, and the demographics targeted. The advertisers themselves will also be subject to stricter requirements, including a limitation on targeting and a requirement to self-identify as a political advertiser. The Transparency Center will also have an advertiser’s complete history of ad spending on Twitter. Violation of the rules will result in penalties and Twitter says the penalties will be “stronger.”
Many of the political ad regulations are similar to that which federal law requires for television, like the disclosure of the ad spend and identity. The announcement also came as Congress is continuing to investigate political ads in the 2016 election, particularly those tied to the Russian government, and weighing potential government regulation.