At the dawn of the social media revolution, our first instincts were on the money.…
In a tweet she published on Tuesday, Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasted Twitter’s new ad policy that won’t approve any political advertising.
The problem with Sen. Warren’s outrage is that she herself is a champion of breaking up social media networks as an end goal, and restricting political advertising in the meantime.
Therefore, when such policies are then implemented by social networks as a way to placate political interests and ensure good relationships with lawmakers, shouldn’t that be celebrated?
It seems Warren is upset that the policy affects more people than those she intended.
Here is a good lesson in advocating public policies and regulations that affect real people: they actually affect, and sometimes harm, real people.
Because regulations are rules that impact everyone and considering that these regulations are promoted as part of a candidate’s platform, it doesn’t take much to understand that ordinary groups, charities, and organizations will actually end up getting penalized. Noble intentions are great, but the actual impact is what matters.
This is something we’ve discussed before, and we’d advocate against.
The Consumer Choice Center, the consumer organization I work for, now won’t be allowed to make ads because Twitter’s algorithms consider our content “political advertising,” even though we do not endorse candidates. We discuss ideas and advocate for ideas that promote consumer choice.
Bans on political advertising, as promoted by Warren, are effectively an attempt to regulate speech, albeit in the private sphere. And not just the speech of the fossil fuel companies or political candidates from parties she deplores.
It also affects environmental groups, pro-LGBT groups, political clubs, NGOs, and everyday civil society organizations like ours.
Let that be a warning to those who promote tech regulation that stifles speech. It won’t just be speech that you don’t like that will end up censored, but all political speech. That’s bad for ordinary social media users, and it’s bad for well-meaning organizations who are just trying to spread a message.
For more, check out this Consumer Choice Center poll that shows that 77% of Americans believe government should not interfere with newer tech-enabled businesses where possible to ensure consumers have the greatest possible choice of services.