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Spotify to follow Twitter in eliminating political advertising

Spotify
Daniel Ek, chief executive of Spotify, speaks at a news conference in May.
(Don Emmert / AFP/Getty Images)

Spotify Technology will stop selling U.S. political advertising in early 2020, following Twitter Inc.’s lead in steering clear of a contentious election cycle.

The move will apply to Spotify’s ad-supported service, as well as its original and exclusive podcasts, the company said Friday. The music streaming service never sold political ads in other countries, so the change affects only the U.S.

Spotify is describing the move as a “pause” and may resume the ads in the future.

“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,” the Stockholm-based company said in a statement. “We will reassess this decision as we continue to evolve our capabilities.”

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Tech companies have struggled with how to handle campaign commercials, especially as the U.S. presidential election nears. Twitter banned the ads in November, though it said some “cause-based” ads for some economic, environmental or social issues would be acceptable. Google also has restricted certain types of targeting for campaign ads.

Facebook Inc., meanwhile, has continued to allow political advertising. The commercials aren’t fact-checked — a policy that’s drawn criticism from activists and some Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Spotify’s move was previously reported by Ad Age.


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