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Major advertisers including DirecTV, Dyson, Forbes, Mazda, and PBS Kids have suspended or canceled advertising campaigns on Twitter because their ads were appearing next to tweets promoting and soliciting child pornography.
Children’s and family entertainment brands like from Walt Disney, NBCUniversal and Coca-Cola Co were also among more than 30 large advertisers that appeared on the profile pages of Twitter accounts pushing links to the degenerate material, Reuters reported, following its review of research about child sex abuse online conducted by the cybersecurity group Ghost Data.
Reuters reported internal Twitter research that showed adult pornography images make up about 13% of all Twitter content.
Ghost Data told Reuters it identified the more than 500 accounts that openly shared or requested child sexual abuse material over a 20-day September period. Twitter failed to remove more than 70% of the accounts during the study period, according to the group.
While Reuters was unable to independently confirm the accuracy of Ghost Data’s claims, its own review revealed dozens of accounts that remained online and were soliciting materials for "13+" and "young looking nudes,” as well as tweets that included key words related to "rape" and “teens” appearing alongside promoted tweets from corporate advertisers.
Some selected quotes or the lack thereof from brands in the Reuters coverage:
COLE HAAN: "We're horrified. Either Twitter is going to fix this, or we'll fix it by any means we can, which includes not buying Twitter ads.”
FORBES: “Twitter needs to fix this problem ASAP, and until they do, we are going to cease any further paid activity on Twitter.”
MAZDA: "There is no place for this type of content online. The company is now prohibiting its ads from appearing on Twitter profile pages.”
WALT DISNEY: “The content is reprehensible. We 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.”
COCA COLA: “We do not condone the material being associated with our brand. Any breach of these standards is unacceptable and taken very seriously.”
NBCUNIVERSAL: “We have asked Twitter to remove the ads associated with the inappropriate content.”
SCOTTISH RITE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: The Texas-based children’s hospital did not return multiple requests for comment.
Incidentally, if you only read the advertising trade magazines (except for MediaPost) or the “deplorable” kind of news media, you might not even be aware that the child pornography tsunami finally broke badly for Twitter this week. Why is that?