In the months leading to the general election in India, online giants like Facebook and Google, have been strengthening their laws related to political advertising, in order to ensure transparency to users. Now Twitter too has joined forces, expanding its political ad policy in India and promising a strict code of conduct to screen individuals or groups who want to political run ad campaigns.
“We continue to be committed to enforcing stricter policies for political advertisers and providing clear, transparent disclosure for ads on Twitter,” the microblogging site announced via a blog post on Tuesday.
“This is part of our overall goal to protect the health of the public conversation on our service and to provide meaningful context around all political entities who use our advertising products,” the company added.
As part of this policy, users can expect a better understanding of what Twitter defines as political content and also a clear insight into who all are running political ads on the social media. In addition, Twitter will also be providing more information surrounding these campaigns like the ad spend and target demographics.
As for the political campaigners, they will be required to go through a certification process before they are allowed to run political ads on Twitter. “Enforcement of this policy will begin the week commencing March 11th in these countries, after which only certified advertisers will be allowed to run political campaigning ads on our service,” the company added.
It’s no surprise that Twitter is making these changes ahead of the crucial election season in India. Earlier Google and Facebook made similar promises, notifying the Bombay High Court of its plans to roll out new rules to prevent “foreign intervention” in the polls.
Menlo Park-headquartered Google is said to have introduced the policies on February 14, while Facebook said it will be rolling out new norms from February 21 onwards.
While the impact of social media platforms during polls has been witnessed worldwide, this will be the first for India, which is going through the electoral process amidst fake news and rampant spread of misinformation. Even as Facebook, Google, and Twitter act tough with new policies, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is stepping up to re-examine these political campaigning policies to ensure free and fair polls.