In the face of threats by United States lawmakers, Twitter has announced on Tuesday a new Advertising Transparency Center on which users will be able to see all the details about advertising campaigns running on the platform.
The policy changes will be introduced in the coming weeks and they will eventually roll out to the rest of the world. It is believed that pressure from senators proposing the Honest Ads Act prompted the swift reaction from Twitter.
The social media giant has been at the center of controversy along with Google and Facebook over non-disclosure of who is behind ad campaigns running on their sites and how people might influence events like the 2016 Presidential Election by misusing the tools available to them.
We’re committing to significantly increasing transparency for all ads on Twitter, especially political and issue ads: https://t.co/nyDvkIYazw
— jack (@jack) October 24, 2017
What will the Ad Transparency Center entail?
Bruce Falck, Twitter’s general manager of revenue product and engineering, said in his blog post that the new Advertising Transparency Center will have general openness mechanics in all ads, but it will add stronger controls to what they call political or electioneering ads.
For all ad campaigns, the Center will display how long they have been running on Twitter, who is running them and whether or not they are targeted to you. Users will also be able to flag ads that don’t appear in their timelines as a broader and more inclusive policing effort.
In the case of political ads, Twitter clarifies that they refer to all ads related to candidates of any given party for any elected office within a month from a primary and two months prior to general elections.
Electioneering ads will be submitted to harder scrutiny and even more transparency, as the social media platform seeks to label them in a way that they are distinguishable from other ads.
A good first step, particularly public disclosure of ads info. Online political ads need more transparency & disclosure. We need #HonestAds https://t.co/ewDbd1hTxZ
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) October 24, 2017
The Advertising Transparency Center will also open up the books to show how much money advertisers have spent on campaigns, which campaigns have they funded and supported over time and all the ad targeting settings they choose.
Looking forward, the company said they want to impose stricter requirements to launch political campaigns on Twitter and limit the targeting tools used by these advertisers so as to avoid any controversy.
Twitter also said it hasn’t exactly figured out how to implement these latter changes yet, and that they will work with other social media giants and industry leaders in search of solutions that put the people first.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), one of the proponents of the Honest Ads Act, called the initiative “a good first step” on a tweet sent by his personal account. Regardless, he and other representatives are aiming at the passing of the new legislation on the Senate and the House.