Stop Promoting Hateful Advertisements on Twitter


Target: Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter

Goal: Stop hateful advertisements from being promoted on Twitter by implementing new approval processes.

Transgender people need to commit suicide, according to advertisements promoted on Twitter’s vast social network service. This kind of harassment and abuse should be filtered out by the website’s management before it can ever go out to the public. Demand that Twitter put in place new advertisement approval processes so that these kinds of dangerous ads can never go live.

Twitter recently implemented new policies aimed at countering the rampant abuse and harassment that takes place on the website, but apparently it forgot to fill in some gaps in the website’s paid-for native advertising service, called “Promoted Tweets.” Using this system, anyone with a credit card can pay to have a particular tweet “promoted” on other Twitter users’ feeds, so that the tweet can be seen by everyone regardless of who they follow.

The trouble is that Internet trolls have begun to take advantage of this poorly-regulated online soapbox to spread hate, harassment, and abuse. This month alone has seen two high-profile instances of online abuse using Promoted Tweets: one from a white supremacist who targeted women and minorities with racist messages, and another from an account pretending to belong to a prominent feminist that targeted transgender people and told them to kill themselves.

The abuse has got to stop. Twitter’s poor regulations for its Promoted Tweet system are literally putting lives at risk. Sign the petition below to demand that Twitter immediately implement new approval processes for Promoted Tweets so this hate can finally end.


Dear CEO Costolo,

I am writing you today regarding your website’s “Promoted Tweet” system of native advertisement. While I appreciate the efforts you have made to fight back against harassment on Twitter, this system is in need of more desperate overhaul.

As I’m sure you know, Promoted Tweets are often hijacked by hateful individuals and organizations to spread bigotry, harassment, and abuse to targeted audiences around your website. Most recently, for instance, someone pretending to be a prominent feminist activist used Promoted Tweets to target transgender Twitter users with a message urging them to commit suicide.

Unfortunately, such violent speech is possible on Promoted Tweets because you don’t currently have processes in place to screen each promoted message before it goes live on your website. This is an obvious oversight that cannot be allowed to continue in light of the service’s burgeoning popularity as a soapbox of bigotry.

Thankfully, though, the solution to this problem is easy: screen every Promoted Tweet by a human before they can go out to people’s Twitter feeds. Such a change is necessary to protect your users from abuse and violent, disturbing rhetoric. I demand that you implement such a new approval process for Promoted Tweets at once.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Shawn Campbell

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  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
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