India’s politicians and political parties don’t seem to be buying ads on Twitter just yet, even as parties are pumping money into Facebook advertising.
As of yesterday (March 11), Indian content is now visible on Twitter’s Ad Transparency Centre: an archive that displays promoted tweets that have been run over the past week. Quartz searched the archive’s records to see if it showed any ads being run by major politicians and political parties, and could not find a single one. (The archive only permits you to search accounts individually—not to click to see all campaign ads at once. Quartz’s manual searches of dozens of politicians and political accounts did not yield any results, however.)
The only accounts seen to have run ads related to politics were media organisations, like television channel Times Now and news aggregation startup Dailyhunt.
Twitter has rolled out the initiative as part of its attempts to boost transparency ahead of India’s upcoming general election. Political campaign ads in the archive, Twitter says, will be accompanied by details about the demographics of audiences they are targeting. And if any promoted tweet is found to have violated Twitter’s rules, the transparency centre will list that it was suspended, and why.
Two days ago, the chief commissioner of the Election Commission of India (ECI) said that Twitter, along with Google, Facebook, and Youtube, has promised to ensure that all political ads on its platform will need to be pre-approved by the poll body’s media certification and monitoring panel.
In order to run political campaign ads, Twitter’s political content policy requires organisations to submit certain identification documents.
“The Transparency Ad Centre along with the Political Content Policy is a welcome step to bringing…