- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2018

Twitter announced Thursday that it’s launching a new “issue ad” policy that requires advertisers to be certified but creates an exemption for news organizations.

This new policy will be geared toward political issues, encompassing ads about legislation topics and candidates. Abortion, civil rights, climate change and guns were among the 10 topics highlighted in the company’s press release.

To fight false accounts, Twitter requires advertisers to complete a certification process that would verify their identity and U.S.-based location.

But the policy specifically creates an exemption for news organizations.

“The intention of this policy is to provide the public with greater transparency into ads that seek to influence people’s stance on issues that may influence election outcomes,” the statement read. “We don’t believe that news organizations running ads on Twitter that report on these issues, rather than advocate for or against them, should be subject to this policy.”

However, the exemption only extends to “publishers that meet specific criteria.”

News organizations can submit an application to Twitter to be certified as getting around the new policy.

These new ads will be subject to the same level of public detail as campaign advertisements. Billing information, money spent and the targeting information will all be available on Twitter’s Ads Transparency Center.

They will also be specifically labeled and attributed within timelines.

This policy will go into effect Sept. 30, giving news outlets and advertisers a month to adjust to the new requirements.

Facebook created a similar policy in May, but without the media exemption. ProPublica reported later that month that several news outlets had advertisements flagged as political.

The crackdown on advertisements to promote transparency comes as social-media giants fight against foreign actors who are trying to influence Americans using fake accounts.

Just one week before this announcement, both Twitter and Facebook suspended hundreds of fake accounts tied to Iran and Russia.

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