Campaign advertising

What Matters 2020

How online ad targeting weaponizes political misinformation

Photo illustration of Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress with an overlay of a newspaper and a red Facebook like button
Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ad targeting is how Facebook, Google and other online giants won the internet. It's also key to understanding why these companies are being held responsible for warping elections and undermining democracy.

The big picture: Critics and tech companies are increasingly considering whether limiting targeting of political ads might be one way out of the misinformation maze.

Twitter refines political ad rules

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter announced updates to its new political ad ban on Friday, clarifying how it will define political ads and what exceptions exist for certain advertisers.

Why it matters: The new details include bans on specific advertising micro-targeting, which is something that industry leaders and regulators have been calling for in light of research and reporting showing how micro-targeting can be abused to spur misinformation.