Spotify Suspends Political Ads: Just The Facts

January 8, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Recently, Spotify announced it will not be accepting political advertisements in 2020 across its ad-supported tier and original podcasts. Although Spotify has 141 million users on its free tier, political ads don’t constitute much revenue for the streaming service.

Why Has Spotify Stopped Accepting Political Ads?

Shutterstock_625286417 KAUNAS, LITHUANIA - APRIL 20, 2017: Control music at home with Spotify app on mobile. Spotify service developed by startup Spotify AB in Stockholm, Sweden

“At this point in time, we do not yet have the necessary level of robustness in our process, systems and tools to responsibly validate and review this content,” Spotify recently told Ad Age. The company has said they may reevaluate at a later date, but it will require continued evolution of their review capabilities.

According to Ad Age, the ban on political spots includes “candidates for office, elected and appointed officials, Super PACs, nonprofits and political parties. It also removes content that advocates for or against political entities and legislative or judicial outcomes.” Third-party podcasts will not be subject to the same policy.

How Are Other Digital Heavy Hitters Refining Their Political Ad Policies?

In 2019, Facebook, Google and Twitter all changed or modified their policies regarding political ads.

Facebook and Google both pledged to amend their political advertising policies to limit micro-targeting of small groups that can be singled out by political campaigns. It is easier for misinformation campaigns to spread within those small groups because of the lack of scrutiny from a wider audience. As of January 6, Google has planned to update their policy, while Facebook is still considering its options which may include broadening the “small group” definition one hundred to several thousand. (As of 1/9/20, Facebook declined to make any "major changes" to their political advertising policies, including changes to microtargeting.)

Twitter, arguably a very influential hub of political activity, banned paid political content several months ago. The Twitter ban includes any advertising from a candidate, political party or official or anyone appearing to have a specific political objective. Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey said at the time, “we [Twitter] believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.”

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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