Spotify to suspend political ads in early 2020


(AP GraphicsBank)

(CBS MONEYWATCH) – Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, is putting on pause political advertising in its streams and own podcasts early next year, because it can’t police the ads for accuracy, the company said.

“At this point in time, we do not yet have the necessary level of robustness in our processes, systems and tools to responsibly validate and review this content. We will reassess this decision as we continue to evolve our capabilities,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

The policy affects listeners who use Spotify’s ad-supported services, as well as podcasts and programs that Spotify itself produces. Podcasts that aren’t owned by the service can still take political advertising, the company said.

Excluded ads include those from political parties, political action committees, SuperPACs, candidates for office, and elected or appointed officials. Ads won’t be allowed to advocate for or against political entities or weigh in on legislation, voter referendums or other proposed laws.

Spotify, which has 248 million users, follows Twitter and Google in backing off from politics. Last month, Twitter banned ads from candidates, officials and political parties, as well as ads that reference those entities. Google has made it harder for advertisers to target audiences for political ads, including targeting people by their party affiliation.

That leaves Facebook as the biggest technology company standing behind political ads. The company has come under criticism for not fact-checking ads placed by candidates, something that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said is akin to censorship.

“I think that people should be able to judge for themselves the character of politicians,” Zuckerberg recently told CBS This Morning.

Spotify plans to improve its ad technology and eventually reintroduce political ads to its platform, according to Ad Age, which first reported the news. The company does not run political ads in countries outside the U.S., the outlet reported.

Advertising makes up a small portion of the company’s revenue. More than 90% of Spotify’s sales last quarter came from premium users, according to financial filings.

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