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Multiple brands pull ads from Twitter after appearing next to child pornography accounts

According to the reports, some of the tweets included key terms like 'rape' and 'teens', and they were shown alongside promotional tweets from corporate marketers.

On Wednesday, Forbes, Dyson, Mazda, PBS Kids, Walt Disney, NBCUniversal, Cole Haan, and Coca-Cola have all halted their Twitter advertising after their promos allegedly appeared next to messages requesting child pornography. Around 30 advertisements allegedly were shown on the profiles of Twitter accounts with ties to child pornography.

According to the reports, some of the tweets included key terms like ‘rape’ and ‘teens’, and they were shown alongside promotional tweets from corporate marketers. In an instance mentioned by Reuters, a promotional tweet for Cole Haan was shown next to a tweet in which a user stated that they were ‘trading teen or child’.

Cole Haan’s brand president, David Maddocks, said that the company is shocked and that either Twitter will correct it or Cole Haan will address it by whatever means it can, including not buying Twitter advertisements in the future. “We’re horrified”, he was quoted. Also, Forbes’ spokesperson condemned the incident and said that the company was horrified to learn about it. “We immediately ceased any paid activity on Twitter. We have no plans to resume our marketing on Twitter this time. They need to fix this mess”, the spokesperson stated.

In another instance, a user searched for “Yung girls ONLY, NO Boys,” which was swiftly followed by a promotional tweet for Texas-based Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital. Twitter spokesperson meanwhile commented on the situation and said that it is working closely with its clients and partners to investigate the situation and take the appropriate steps to prevent this from happening in the future.

“The company has zero tolerance for child sexual exploitation. Twitter remains committed to providing a safe environment for all people, and this includes ensuring advertisers can connect with their customers safely”, Twitter spokesperson Celeste Carswell was quoted.

According to Ghost Data’s investigation, over 500 accounts publicly posted or solicited child sexual assault content for more than 20 days this month. However, Reuters in its exclusive report mentioned that Twitter had failed to delete more than 70% of the accounts over the research period. The dozens of accounts that remained online and were inspected by the agency which revealed that they were hunting for ’13+’ and ‘young looking nude’ content.

The news agency happened to share a sample of 20 accounts with Twitter on Thursday (September 22) after which the social media firm banned around 300 accounts from its network. However, more than 100 additional accounts continued to exist on the site the next day. On Monday, Reuters then released the complete list of over 500 accounts, which were investigated by Twitter before being permanently terminated for violating the company policies.

On Wednesday, reportedly the social media company sent emails to its advertisers to inform them that it had discovered advertising running within profiles that were ‘publicly selling or soliciting child sexual abuse content’. Separately, Twitter stated in its transparency report that the number of accounts that breached its child sexual exploitation policy increased by 31% during the second half of 2021. During this reporting period, it suspended 596,997 unique accounts, a 32% rise from the prior report. 91% of these banned accounts were detected proactively via the use of internal proprietary techniques and industry hash-sharing programs.

Twitter is also in court with Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk, who is seeking to back out of a $44 billion plan to purchase the social media giant due to concerns about the frequency of spam accounts and their influence on the business. In a study dated February 2021, a team of Twitter workers determined that the firm needed greater investment to detect and delete child exploitation content on a large scale, adding that the company had a backlog of cases to analyze for possible referral to law authorities.

Brand safety continues to be a problem in this digital era. Reportedly, Twitter is not the only firm that is facing the heat. In 2017, companies such as Amazon, Cadbury, eBay, Mars, Diageo, Adidas, HP, and Deutsche Bank suspended their YouTube advertising due to worries that their commercials were appearing on videos of minors who were being targeted and exploited. According to the reports, YouTube enabled sexual pictures of children to be easily accessible and failed to live up to commitments to properly monitor and control its services to safeguard children.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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