Spotify to Cease Airing Political Ads in 2020

Another tech giant takes a side in a heated and ongoing debate

You can hear a lot of things on Spotify, but soon political ads will not be among them.
NeONBRAND/Creative Commons

In the aftermath of the 2016 election and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the placement of political ads online has become a heated issue heading into the 2020 election. Earlier this year, Twitter announced that it would no longer run political advertisements, and there’s been a widespread call for Facebook to do the same thing

Now, another popular online space has entered the debate, and it’s taken a position along the same lines as Twitter.

Beginning next year, Spotify will no longer air political ads in the United States. The Verge reports that, in the past, the streaming music service has run ads from across the political spectrum: both the Republican National Committee and Bernie Sanders have advertised there. 

Ad Age was the first to report the news. According to a statement that Spotify provided to Ad Age, the decision came down to the company’s lack of resources when it comes to specific claims made in these advertisements. 

The language of Spotify’s statement held out the possibility that this ban might be reversed at a future date. “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,” it read in part.

Given the amount of criticism of Facebook for their policies, and the relatively positive response Twitter received, it’s also easy to see a pragmatic reason for Spotify’s decision — especially given that Spotify’s royalty payments continue to be a sore subject for many.

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