Spotify has announced that it will suspend selling political ads on its platform from early 2020. This comes under mounting pressure on online platforms to ban ads that might carry false claims ahead of US Presidential elections.
The company also said that the pause would extend to Spotify’s original and exclusive podcasts as well.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also recently announced a ban on all political advertisements, albeit with “a few exceptions” like voter registration. After his announcement won appreciation from across the world, many other players also followed suit.
Google and Facebook are allegedly considering the incorporation of new rules to curb micro-targeted political ads. Facebook CEO is reportedly considering to limit the ability of electoral candidates to instigate a narrow group of voters.
In October 2019, hundreds of Facebook employees also wrote to Zuckerberg demanding a ban. They had said that just like how the platform restricts targeting for housing and education and credit verticals due to a history of discrimination, it should extend similar restrictions to political advertising.
Ahead of US Presidential elections, Spotify has decided to remove content that advocates for or against political entities. Spotify said in a statement that it will pause political advertising in early 2020 across its ad-supported tier—which boasts of 141 million users— as well as the streaming giant’s original and exclusive podcasts, some of which include “The Joe Budden Podcast” and “Amy Schumer Presents, said AdAge report.
Spotify launched its operations in India in February. Within a week of its launch, Spotify saw more than 1 Mn users sign up and growth continued to outpace expectations. The Swedish company now has more than 2 Mn users in India and has been expanding its focus on the Indian market.
Indian Elections And The Role Of Social Media
While Spotify doesn’t run political ads in other countries including India, it again brings back the concerns raised on the influence of social media on elections.
According to a survey by ADG Online, a digital marketing company, nearly one-third of first-time voters in India were influenced by political messages on social media platforms in the ongoing general elections. Thirty percent of 150 Mn first-time voters are engaged and influenced through social media platforms, said the report.
The study also found out that political messages have reached out to 50% of first-time voters through social media and rest 20% are aware of the developments in the country.
Many experts globally have been asking for a ban on all political ads on social media platforms. Ahead of Indian general elections this year, a voluntary code of ethics was developed by the internet and mobile association of India (IAMAI) and was submitted by the Election Commission of India.
Twitter had committed to taking a more stringent view of political advertisers in India ahead of the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year even before the ban. Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube also agreed to cooperate with the Election Commission of India and stating that only pre-authorised Indian advertisers would be allowed to run political ads on their platform. Participants also agreed to take action on content reported by the electoral nodal officers.