Twitter’s political ad ban will exempt some ‘issue’ ads

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter Inc. is making some exceptions to its recent ban on all political advertising, announcing Friday that it will allow “cause-based” ads for some economic, environmental or social issues.

There will still be certain restrictions for those promotions, also known as issue ads. Groups that promote content about a cause — climate change, for example — can’t link to a specific candidate’s landing page, promote the ad on behalf of a candidate or mention a particular piece of legislation. Such ads also won’t be able to target people using specific identifiers, like email addresses or zip codes.

Candidates, elected officials and political parties will be banned from buying any ads at all, including ones about issues or causes.

The point, Twitter said, is to allow advertisers to encourage discussion around certain subjects, but not directly influence elections.

“While advertising should not be used to drive political, legislative or regulatory outcomes,” Twitter General Counsel Vijaya Gadde said on a conference call with reporters, the company believes “that there is certain cause-based advertising that can facilitate public conversations about important topics.”

Twitter’s policy comes amid a presidential campaign in full swing less than a year before the election and runs counter to rules Facebook Inc. has established for its social network. Facebook does allow political advertising but doesn’t fact-check those ads the way it does with non-political ads.