FILE - This Oct. 26, 2016 file photo shows a Twitter sign outside of the company’s headquarters in San Francisco. A new study published Thursday, March 8, 2018, in the journal Science shows that false information on the social media network travels six times faster than the truth and reaches far more people. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu), File

Twitter joins Facebook in creating registry for online political ads

The social media giant will ban political advertisements during the two-month run-up to the official campaign

Twitter is creating a registry of all online political ads posted on its platform during this fall’s federal election campaign.

But the social media giant will ban political advertisements during the two-month run-up to the official campaign, known as the pre-writ period, that starts June 30.

READ MORE: New tool launched to shine light on ethnic media coverage of election issues

Twitter Canada announced its ad-transparency policy this morning, several weeks after being called out by Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould for not committing to help ensure the integrity of the federal electoral process.

A new law requires platforms to keep a publicly accessible registry of political ads during both the pre-writ and writ periods, where Canadians can easily find out who is posting online ads.

Facebook rolled out its own ad-transparency policy two weeks ago and, starting this week, is systematically detecting and reviewing ads on social issues, elections and politics in Canada, and requiring that they include a “paid for by” disclosure.

Google has decided to ban political ads on its platform altogether rather than try to set up a registry, which it argued would be technologically difficult to develop in the limited time available before the campaign.

Twitter is taking a middle road between the two other tech titans, banning ads during the pre-writ period as it fine-tunes its transparency tool in time for the start of the official campaign period in September.

Earlier this month, Gould scolded Twitter for failing say whether it would comply with the law on ad transparency and for not signing onto a “declaration of electoral integrity.” That commits Internet companies to work with the government to help prevent malicious foreign or domestic actors from using social media to peddle disinformation, exacerbate societal divisions and undermine trust in the electoral process. Facebook, Google and Microsoft have signed on.

“We haven’t heard from Twitter on the declaration. We haven’t heard from Twitter in terms of what they’re planning on doing for the upcoming election,” Gould said.

“I think it’s important for Canadians to be aware that Twitter has essentially decided not to take responsibility for these activities, that Twitter is not committing to what they’ll do here in Canada.”

Michele Austin, head of government public policy at Twitter Canada, said the company has an “excellent working relationship” with Gould’s department, Elections Canada, the commissioner of elections and cybersecurity authorities.

“Minister Gould is asking the right questions for Canadians, she’s expressing concerns which we’re happy to meet,” Austin said in an interview. “So I welcome those questions and welcome the criticism but also would like to continue to work together with them and make sure that she takes the time to experience the efforts that we’ve taken.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mclean’s Shipyard sells

New adventures for owners of Adventure Tours & Westcoast Launch

Severe wind warning for Haida Gwaii and the North Coast

Winds of more than 100 km/h are predicted for Wednesday afternoon

SD52 schools using bottled water, waiting on results from copper levels in drinking water

New guidelines cut down the allowable limit for lead and copper in drinking water

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Indigenous LNG supporters chide human rights advocates over pipeline comments

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline’s 670-kilometre path

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

WEB POLL: Are you in favour of LNG exports from the North Coast?

AlaskCAN LNG recently announced their goal of building a $12 billion LNG… Continue reading

Manitoba RCMP spent less than $800K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Horgan unveils B.C. cabinet shuffle changes

Premier John Horgan has made three major changes to his cabinet

Dog reunited with Tofino owner, months after being taken from beach

Shannon Boothman ‘ecstatic’ at pet’s return after a tip leads to social media search

Most Read