Spotify announced Friday that it will suspend political advertising on its platform next year, making it the latest in a series of tech and social media platforms to publicly address how it will handle content targeting voters.
The music streaming company said that its decision was ma because it does not yet have the means to screen political advertising content.
“At this point in time, we do not yet have the necessary level of robustness in our processes, systems and tools to responsibly validate and review this content. We will reassess this decision as we continue to evolve our capabilities,” a spokesperson said in a statement to media outlets.
The move by Spotify, which was first reported by AdAge, comes after a wave of backlash against Facebook, which said it would not fact check content in political ads. Critics said the company was giving a platform to politicians to spread disinformation, while Facebook defended its choice by saying any statement by a political figure is important to the public interest even if it includes false or misleading statements.
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Twitter, on the other hand, also committed to stop accepting political ads in a stance against “forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people.” And Google has said it will restrict the way political advertisers can target specific audiences.
“This isn’t about free expression. This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in October.
Politicians have weighed in on the debate over political advertising on online platforms. President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign issued a statement about Twitter’s ban, calling it “another attempt to silence conservatives, since Twitter knows President Trump has the most sophisticated online program ever known.”
Meanwhile, 2020 Democratic presidential candidates lauded Twitter’s decision as “a bold step,” and calling on Facebook to do the same.
Spotify’s decision will only affect U.S. listeners, the single market where it had been accepting political ads. It will apply to its ad-supported tier and to its original podcast content, but political ads may still appear in third-party content such as podcasts not owned by Spotify, the company said.
AdAge reported that the Spotify policy applies to content from political organizations, candidates and elected or appointed officials, and ads advocating on behalf of a legislative or judicial outcome.