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Twitter's logo outside the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Mark Lennihan / AP

Twitter announced Tuesday that it would increase transparency around ads tied to political candidates on the platform, along with more moderate disclosures for other ads.

Why it matters: Twitter — like Facebook before it — is responding to pressure from lawmakers concerned about the way Russian actors were able to buy ads focused on divisive political issues during the election.

The details:

  • Users will now be able to view all the ads running on Twitter (or that have already run) referring to candidates or their party. They'll be able to see how much that advertiser has spent on the platform, and details around how the ads are being targeted. The company will also apply "stricter requirements on who can serve these ads and limit targeting options" for advertisers running these types of ads, but was vague about what those would look like.
  • For now, the reforms will not cover ads focused on political issues — although the company says it wants to make changes there. That matters because one of the tactics that Russian operatives reportedly used was to run ads on divisive issues that didn't necessarily mention a candidate in 2016.
  • Users will also be able to see more information about all the non-political ads running on Twitter.
  • Twitter will begin to roll out the changes later this year.

The bigger picture: Facebook and Twitter have now both made a play at self-regulating political ads on their platforms. But it's not clear that will be enough to stop lawmakers like Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar and Republican John McCain from pushing a bill that would put new transparency requirements into law. "We look forward to engaging with Members of Congress and other key stakeholders on these issues as the legislative process continues," Twitter said in its blog post announcing the changes.

Go deeper

2020 was the economy's worst year since 1946

Source: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy grew at a 4% annualized pace in the last quarter of 2020, meaning the economy shrank by 3.5% for the full year, the government said on Thursday.

Why it matters: One of the last major economic report cards of the Trump era shows a sharp slowdown in growth compared to the previous quarter, as the pandemic got worse and government aid petered out. It was the worst year for the economy since 1946 and the first time GDP shrank since 2009, when it fell 2.5% during the Great Recession.

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Retail traders have found a cheat code for the stock market, and barring some major action from regulatory authorities or a massive turn in their favored companies, they're going to keep using it to score "tendies" and turn Wall Street on its head.

What's happening: The share prices of companies like GameStop are rocketing higher, based largely on the social media organizing of a 3-million strong group of Redditors who are eagerly piling into companies that big hedge funds are short selling, or betting will fall in price.

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Why it matters: President Biden is expected to announce today that he'll be reopening the marketplaces for a special enrollment period from Feb. 15 to May 15, but getting a significant number of people to sign up for coverage will likely require targeted outreach.