First, it was the political grilling of Mark Zuckerberg over his stance of not monitoring political Ads. And then it was the employee letter to Mark Zuckerberg pleading him to take a different stance. Let's just say, it's not a good time to be Facebook, even though their earnings are through the roof.
Then Twitter comes in and makes a move that Facebook should have done a long time ago: It banned political ads globally ahead of the political election.
This is a big move by Twitter and not an easy one to make. This decision could potentially cost billions of dollars in revenue.
The reason Facebook still gets grilled is that no one really understands Facebook's position on political ads. Mark Zuckerberg has explained that they won't block false political ads because they don't want to police what's right and what's wrong, and he doesn't believe politicians should be censored.
But, a California candidate ran a false political ad, and it was soon blocked by Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg told congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that he would probably let her run a fake ad against Republicans saying they supported the green deal, but then a few days later took down an ad that said Republicans supported the new deal. It's a gray area.
So, where do you draw the line? The reason I love the Twitter decision so much is that their decision is clear: No political ads on Facebook. Fake or true, it doesn't matter, we aren't allowing you to post-campaign ads.
We've made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons...-- jack (@jack) October 30, 2019
Whenever I consult with companies on their positioning and message to the market, the first thing I tell them is to stand for something. Make it clear what you stand for and what you don't stand for. Make it easy for your customers and potential customers to know what type of company you are.
Twitter potentially sacrificed hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in ad revenue by standing for something.
Here are two things I learned from this.
Focus on your business, not the drama
With the presidential election coming up, the scrutiny on the major platforms is going to be massive. This move by Twitter allows them to focus on their business, and not fight with their employees, community and, politicians on their ads policy. This move by Jack Dorsey just saved his team thousands of hours and millions of wasted dollars.
I see so many founders and leaders get involved in things that they should be avoiding like the plague. It not only impacts the CEO, but the entire team is impacted. Whenever you're faced with a decision, you should minimize the impact on your teams so they can focus on what they're good at. Also, If you can't avoid drama, my recommendation is to handle drama in person or over the phone and not email.
Make swift decisions and stand behind them
I recently made a decision to only work with founders and CEO's of consulting companies. By doing so, I cut off potential revenue from other companies, but it allows me to focus on my target customer. I was afraid to make the decision because of the revenue implications, but it has already paid off in big dividends, as it allowed me to focus purely on my customers. This has resulted in more contracts and happier clients, in addition to the creation of new products that can help them grow their business.
None of this was possible without making a bold, clear decision. In the end, Twitter's decision was the right one. I think Facebook may eventually follow, but it will take them some time to come around.