“We’re Horrified”: Major Brands Pull Twitter Ad Campaigns Over Child Porn


When it comes to policing mean tweets – or any opinion to the right of Mao, Twitter’s army of pink-haired social justice censors is on it.

But when it comes to pedophiles, the social media giant’s censorship is so lax that major advertisers – including Dyson, Mazda, Forbes and PBS Kids – have suspended their marketing campaigns or removed ads from ‘parts of Twitter’ because their promotions were featured next to tweets soliciting child pornography, Reuters reports.

DIRECTV and Thoughtworks also told Reuters late on Wednesday they have paused their advertising on Twitter.

Brands ranging from Walt Disney Co, NBCUniversal and Coca-Cola Co to a children’s hospital were among more than 30 advertisers that appeared on the profile pages of Twitter accounts peddling links to the exploitative material, according to a Reuters review of accounts identified in new research about child sex abuse online from cybersecurity group Ghost Data. -Reuters

Easily filtered keywords including “rape” and “teens” were featured alongside promoted tweets from corporate advertisers, a Reuters review found.

In one case, a Cole Haan ad appeared next to a tweet in which a user solicited “trading teen/child” content.

We’re horrified,” said Cole Haan brand president, David Maddocks. “Either Twitter is going to fix this, or we’ll fix it by any means we can, which includes not buying Twitter ads.”

In another example, a user tweeted searching for content of “Yung girls ONLY, NO Boys,” which was immediately followed by a promoted tweet for Texas-based Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital. Scottish Rite did not return multiple requests for comment. -Reuters

Twitter offered a boilerplate response, telling Reuters that the company “has zero tolerance for child sexual exploitation,” and is investing more resources dedicated to child safety, adding that the company is working closely with advertisers and partners to investigate and avoid embarrassing corporate clients in the future.

Twitter’s child porn issues were noted by The Verge in late August, causing pushback from advertisers that are critical to the company’s revenue stream.

After Reuters presented Twitter with a sample of 20 accounts promoting child porn last Thursday, the company removed around 300 additional accounts from the network, but over 100 remained on the platform the following day, according to Ghost Data and Reuters.

Then on Monday, Reuters shared a full list of more than 500 accounts furnished by Ghost Data, which Twitter reviewed before permanently suspending them.

Twitter scrambled to do damage control Wednesday morning ahead of the Reuters story, telling advertisers in an email that it had “discovered that ads were running within Profiles that were involved with publicly selling or soliciting child sexual abuse material.”

“Twitter needs to fix this problem ASAP, and until they do, we are going to cease any further paid activity on Twitter,” said a Forbes spokesperson.

Mazda, meanwhile, said “There is no place for this type of content online,” adding that the company is now prohibiting ads from appearing on Twitter profile pages.

A Disney spokesperson called the content “reprehensible” and said they are “doubling-down on our efforts to ensure that the digital platforms on which we advertise, and the media buyers we use, strengthen their efforts to prevent such errors from recurring.”

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola, which had a promoted tweet appear on an account tracked by the researchers, said it did not condone the material being associated with its brand and said “any breach of these standards is unacceptable and taken very seriously.”

NBCUniversal said it has asked Twitter to remove the ads associated with the inappropriate content. -Reuters

When will Elon Musk enter the Reuters story into evidence?



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