When Twitter announced yesterday that they would be banishing political ads from the platform in November, CivicScience quickly leapt into action to see how Americans felt about the news. By evening, we had a solid read on the numbers – finding that the overwhelming majority of respondents (69% to 19%) support Twitter’s decision.
These results look remarkably similar to a survey conducted by CivicScience a week ago, subsequently published on Microsoft News, about political ads on Facebook. A whopping 73% of U.S. adults would support a decision by Mark Zuckerberg to ban political ads on Facebook, versus just 18% who would disagree. Incidentally, the study found that Republicans were less likely than Democrats to agree with a hypothetical ban.
But Don’t Just Vilify the Social Networks
To examine the relative impact of the Facebook and Twitter findings, CivicScience launched a similar question, asking a representative sample of U.S. adults whether they would support a hypothetical decision by television networks to ban political ads. The numbers proved to be remarkably consistent, though slightly less one-sided, with 65% supporting a ban and 23% opposing it. That’s still a ratio of nearly 3-to-1.
Social media has become an easy target for those frustrated with the current state of political discourse in America, but it turns out our disdain for political advertising is ‘cross-platform.’ And, while political ad sales represent a small fraction of revenue for platforms like Twitter and Facebook, they are a gold mine for television networks – particularly local ones.
So, despite Twitter’s bold move, don’t expect to escape the coming barrage of political ads on every screen you see for the next year.