Twitter announces rules for Canadian political advertising

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Twitter announces rules for Canadian political advertising


OTTAWA–Twitter will unveil new rules for political actors hoping to push advertisements on Canadian voters Thursday.

The social media company had banned political advertising from its platform in June while it worked on a system to comply with new Canadian election laws requiring political advertising to be identified and logged.

The company told the Star Wednesday that third-party advertisers — groups like unions, political advocacy groups, and activists — will be required to prove their identities and that they’ve registered with Elections Canada.

“Organizations seeking to advertise political content must undergo a thorough certification process in order to advertise on Twitter,” spokesman Cam Gordon wrote in a statement.

“All political ads are viewable in our ads transparency centre, where you will be able to see details such as billing information, ad spend, and impressions (how widely the advertisement has been seen) data per Tweet. Additionally, we will be showing demographic targeting data for the ads being served.”

The information Twitter is providing is similar to Facebook, the dominant social media platform, which created a registry for political advertising in June to comply with new rules meant to prevent foreign interference in the upcoming federal election campaign.

Google, Facebook’s main competitor for digital advertising, opted to prohibit political advertising entirely rather than comply with rules requiring a registry of political ads.

The Liberal government moved to require social media companies to create registries of political advertising as part of its response to Russian interventions in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

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The measure applies only to the months leading up to the election campaign.

The social media platforms are increasingly enticing for political parties, given their ability to target specific demographics and subsets of the population.

According to Facebook’s ad library, the Liberal Party has spent roughly $111,000 on Facebook advertising over the last 30 days. Third-party groups hostile to the Liberal government, such as Canada Proud and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, have spent close to the same. Unions and environmental groups also placed in the top spenders on Facebook ads.

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Alex Boutilier





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