Spotify Has Temporarily Banned Political Advertisements

Published on December 28, 2019

Spotify users are being granted the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season as the company has opted to ban political ads for the time being. The move, which was revealed in an article on Ad Age on Friday, claims that the company will ban political advertisements from its ad-supported tier until it can determine a strategy to assure that all ads abide by its terms and conditions. Since political ads on social media are a hot topic issue these days, that could be awhile.

The company announced its decision with a statement about how it doesn’t have the infrastructure to make sure political ads are free of lies and biased information. “At this point in time, we do not yet have the necessary level of robustness in our process, systems and tools to responsibly validate and review this content,” said a representative for Spotify in a statement that was published on Ad Age.

Political Advertising On Social Networks Is Rooted In Controversy

Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal unfolded back in 2018, the subject of political advertising on social media has been a hot topic issue. Many figures such as Alexandria Ocasio Cortez have urged social media companies like Facebook to take on ethical practices regarding political ads as we head into the 2020 election.

Mark Zuckerberg famously said that Facebook would not be fact checking political advertisements in the future to assure that freedom of speech is not impacted. The move was heavily criticized by both politicians and voters, who claim that the dangers of not fact checking political advertisements are a direct threat to democracy.

Twitter, in response to Facebook’s heavily criticized decision not to fact check political ads, announced recently that it would be banning political ads altogether in the same way that Spotify is doing now. The issue with that, though, is that Twitter’s platform and its features allow for political ads to be present, just in less transparent ways.

Will You Ever Hear Political Ads On Spotify Again?

While Spotify is opting to ban political ads for now, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be political ads interrupting your favorite playlists and podcasts in the future. The company has said that it plans to reintroduce the ads once it’s had the time to research and establish a strategy for assuring that political ads are both ethical and factual.

The ban includes advertisements for persons running for any form of government office, as well as for organizations and super PAC’s that hold political power or influence over political campaigns. The only ads that will remain on the platform are ads that have been embedded into third party podcasts.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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