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Warren Claims Twitter’s Political-Ad Ban Will Benefit Fossil-Fuel Companies

An aerial view shows a coal-burning power plant on the outskirts of Zhengzhou, China. (Stringer/Reuters)

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) criticized Twitter’s impending ban on political advertising on Tuesday, predicting that the policy will allow advertisements run by fossil-fuel industries while prohibiting ads by environmental groups opposing those industries.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced on October 30 that his company would ban all political advertisements but the specific guidelines governing the ban, which takes effect November 15, have not yet been released.

“Twitter’s new ad policy will allow fossil-fuel companies to buy ads defending themselves and spreading misleading info—but won’t allow organizations fighting the climate crisis to buy ads holding those companies accountable,” Warren wrote on Twitter. The senator derived her information from an environmentalist journalist’s account.

In response, Dorsey noted that the company’s new advertising rules were not operational or even public at this point. “We haven’t announced our new rules yet. They come out 11/15,” Dorsey wrote in his response to Warren. “Taking all this into consideration.”

Currently the company deems advertisements “political” if they “refer to an election or a candidate or ads that advocate for or against legislative issues of national importance (such as: climate change, healthcare, immigration, national security, taxes),” according to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety.

Warren already has targeted big tech companies during her presidential campaign. After Facebook announced it would allow political ads containing misleading information on its platform, Warren accused the company of helping to reelect President Trump.

“Facebook is actively helping Trump spread lies and misinformation,” Warren wrote on Twitter. “Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once. They might do it again—and profit off of it.”

Warren also has threatened that she would break up Facebook and other tech companies if she were elected. In leaked audio, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg can be heard saying Warren is an “existential” threat to the company.

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