X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, has announced that it is lifting a yearslong ban on political advertising ahead of the 2024 elections.
The cash-strapped company revealed its decision in a blog post on Tuesday while also vowing to expand its efforts to stop the spread of false information, which is what led to the ban going into effect in 2019.
“This will include prohibiting the promotion of false or misleading content, including false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in an election, while seeking to preserve free and open political discourse,” X said of its planned efforts.
The company, which was purchased by Elon Musk last October, also suggested it will hire more people for its safety and elections teams. These teams, it said, “focus on combating manipulation, surfacing inauthentic accounts and closely monitoring the platform for emerging threats.”
X will also expand the number of community monitors that have access to the site’s crowdsourced fact-checking system, Community Notes. This feature, which predates Musk but was previously called Birdwatch, allows contributors to add notes to users’ posts for added context. These notes can then be rated by other users.
The social media site entirely banned political ads under former CEO Jack Dorsey, who reasoned that “political message reach should be earned, not bought.”
“While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions,” Dorsey said at the time.
Dorsey’s decision followed extensive reviews on how malicious bots and other misinformation networks interfered with the 2016 presidential election by spreading false information online.
Musk purchased the platform last October for $44 billion and shortly afterward slashed its staff, including those responsible for overseeing the site’s safety, public policy and media relations. He also began requiring users to pay a monthly fee to receive a blue checkmark on their profile, which verified users’ identity to distinguish them from impostors.
Musk last month publicly shared on X that his company has a negative cash flow after experiencing nearly a 50% drop in advertising revenue, “plus heavy debt load.” Musk had said back in March that he had expected the site to reach positive cash flow by June.
“July is a bit more promising,” he added.