Twitter ban on political ads welcome move but ultimately symbolic one

Matthew Rice, Scotland Director, Open Rights Group, reacting to the Twitter ban on political ads said:

This decision by Twitter is a welcome move but ultimately a symbolic one. The bigger problems are in larger platforms like Facebook and in the personal data processed by political parties and the campaign groups that support them. 

These are systemic problems, created by lax data protection laws and opaque advertising systems. Systemic problems need systemic solutions.  The only way forward is through reform of the law and new rules for use of personal data in political campaigns. We can’t rely on every actor in this space having a moral awakening like Twitter – and even if they did, there would still be opportunities to exploit the exemptions in our existing laws.

The current system is not fit for purpose and we need a lot more than the moral posturing of social media companies to make it fit for purpose.


Open Rights Group also wrote to every leader of political parties today calling on them to be more transparent about their processing of personal data. The joint letters were sent alongside Privacy International, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Fair Vote, Who Targets Me? and Demos is here:

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