Spotify users who do not pay for the premium version will not be receiving any ads that relate to US politics because Spotify feels that they are not capable enough to regulate the political ads responsibly. Spotify original podcasts will also not run the ads.
Political ads are a major concern since the 2016 elections. The ads made it to social media, and everyone witnessed one of the great downsides of it, the spreading of misinformation. Nobody wants a repeat of that, so Spotify has decided not to validate any political ads in 2020. Facebook was under fire during the elections for spreading wrong information across and twitter has completely shut down the spread of anything related to the US politics.
Spotify has decided to embrace the same strategy as that of twitter. Since it is one of the top streaming platforms, Spotify has decided to pause these ads before and during the 2020 elections.
The company even gave a statement to the TechCrunch saying “Beginning in early 2020, Spotify will pause the selling of political advertising. This will include political advertising content in our ad-supported tier and in Spotify original and exclusive podcasts. At this point in time, we do not have the necessary level of robustness in our processes, systems and tools to responsible validate and review this content. We will reassess this decision as we continue to evolve our capabilities.”Source
What they are trying to say is that at the moment, they do not have the necessary resources to comb through the ads and evaluate if it is misleading or not. Outside of the US, Spotify does not offer ads. Although in the past political ads have been broadcasted on the platform by politicians like Senator Bernie Sanders, but this time they have chosen to refrain from doing so.
Twitter in November put a ban on paid political advertising. Any content referring to the candidates, legislation, political parties etc. is forbidden. All that Twitter allows is ’cause-based advertising’. Twitter decided to impose the ban after Facebook declared that it would not fact check the statements that will be made in political advertisements. It is not just that Google will also be following suit with Spotify; they plan to implement restriction on the political ads worldwide from the 6th of January. Google is going to limit the advertisers from targeting people based on their political preference or their voter records. Having said that Google would allow geo-targeted political ads and all other political ads targeted to other demographics like age and gender. These new rules are speculated to have a significant impact on political ads. The company has run ads for more than $155 million just for political advertisements. It is a number calculated from 31st of May 2018.
Spotify, like Facebook targets ads. But unlike Facebook, which uses a lot of intimate data of the users to target the ads, Spotify doesn’t do that. In fact, it relies on the user’s demographics to target the ads. It uses data related to age, gender, playlist selection and other signals to target ads. This suspension of political ads will happen in early 2020. It is only in the US that Spotify allows political ads but for now that option is unavailable.