Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Twitter's move to ban political ads is just the latest of several moves by the platform to position itself as an antidote to what critics see as Facebook's missteps and ethical lapses.

Why it matters: The free speech banner Facebook is waving used to be shared by most of the big social media companies. A Twitter exec once called the company "the free speech wing of the free speech party."

  • But amid an extraordinary backlash toward Facebook from critics angered at its role in spreading misinformation, its rivals are distancing themselves — and are using the moment to frame their free speech principles as better suited to the era of social media.

Driving the news: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Wednesday in a series of tweets that the tech giant will no longer accept political or advocacy advertising of any kind on its platform.

  • Dorsey said Twitter acknowledges that a tech platform's unique ability to distribute ads in a highly targeted manner, and with easily tested and customizable messaging, is different from the advertising opportunity on broadcast TV — where networks are required by law to run ads from all political candidates, regardless of their factual accuracy.

The big picture: Twitter has made a concerted effort over the past two weeks to separate its policies from Facebook, although this was the most visible effort to knock its rival so far.

  • Last week at Twitter's News Summit, Dorsey said that a revenue split between Twitter and publishers is probably more sustainable for now than paying publishers — a direct jab at Facebook's new "News Tab," which will be spending millions to pay a collection of publishers.
  • Dorsey also refused to say that Twitter "wasn't" a media company, something Facebook has long denied.
  • He acknowledged that the company has used journalists to curate its "Moments" tab for a while. Facebook only recently announced that it would hire journalists as a part of the News Tab efforts.
  • Dorsey also poked Facebook by announcing Twitter's new ads policy Wednesday minutes before Facebook released its quarterly earnings report.

Meanwhile: Facebook has recently doubled down on its message that running ads that contain lies from politicians on its platform is little different from running them on broadcast networks. (Yet Facebook isn't obligated to do so, while the networks are.)

Yes, but: Political ads don't make up a significant revenue stream for Twitter, so this was an easier decision for it to make than it would be f0r Facebook.

  • Fact check: Twitter's Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal reiterated Wednesday that Twitter made less than $3 million in political ad revenue during the 2018 midterms. Facebook says that less than 5% of its ad revenue comes from political and issue ads.

Others argue Twitter's decision will hurt less-known candidates and groups that can't afford to buy expensive political ads on radio and TV.

  • Plus: Twitter still has a hard time enforcing its rules around hate speech, harassment and other areas, and drawing a line around political ads could prove tough.

Twitter isn't alone. Facebook rivals have been using Facebook's controversies over the past 18 months to tout their own efforts to curb misinformation and hate speech.

  • Ads: TikTok said two weeks ago it would ban political ads. Pinterest said it would do so last year.
  • Journalists: Snapchat and Twitter have over the past two years increased investments in hiring journalists to curate their news destinations, "Discover" and "Moments." Both firms are very vocal about vetting the content in those channels.
  • News sections: Apple debuted its Apple News product earlier this year, and emphasized the discretion it has over choosing which publishers appear in the app.

Our thought bubble: As executives from both platforms have tackled this issue over the past two weeks, it has become clear that Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg have fundamentally different views about how their platforms relate to the wider internet.

  • Dorsey wants Twitter to be a part of the internet, and to build his product around the culture and expectations of internet users around the world.
  • Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be the internet, and to create the culture and expectations of internet users around the world.

The bottom line: This is a big step for Twitter, and it may put pressure on other digital platforms to follow suit.

Go deeper

Australia opposes UN report warning Great Barrier Reef is "in danger"

A green sea turtle swimming among the corals at Lady Elliot island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Great Barrier Reef should be included in a list of World Heritage Sites that are "in danger" from climate change, a United Nations committee said in a report Tuesday.

Yes, but: Australia's government said it will "strongly oppose" the recommendation by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: Abolishing filibuster would weaken "democracy's guardrails"

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema at the U.S. Capitol building earlier this month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) defended her opposition to abolishing the 60-vote legislative filibuster in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday night, saying to do so would weaken "democracy's guardrails."

Why it matters: There have been growing calls from Democrats, particularly progressives, to overhaul the rules as the Senate prepares to vote Tuesday on a massive voting rights package. But Sinema writes in her op-ed that if this were to happen "we will lose much more than we gain."

Court blocks California assault weapons ban repeal

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Monday blocked a judge's ruling that overturned California's 30-year assault weapons ban.

Driving the news: U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled earlier this month that the ban was unconstitutional and likened the AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife, but the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has now granted a stay, pending appeal.