Brand Safety @Twitter

Brand safety

Our purpose is to serve the public conversation

Improving the health of the public conversation is a top priority for Twitter. Violence, harassment and other similar types of behavior discourage people from expressing themselves and create an unsafe environment, and this behavior has no place on Twitter. In addition to our work to combat this negative activity platform-wide, Twitter has invested in a suite of solutions aimed at ensuring a safe advertising experience for everyone who uses Twitter.
The Twitter Rules

Our Rules are in place to ensure all people can participate in the public conversation freely and safely. These policies are enforced for all people who use Twitter, and set the standard for content and behavior not permitted on the platform. These policies address Violence, Terrorism/violent extremism, Child sexual exploitation, Abuse/harassment, Hateful conduct, Suicide or self-harm, Sensitive media, Illegal or regulated goods & services, Private information, Non-consensual nudity, Platform manipulation and spam, Civic integrity, Impersonation, Synthetic and manipulated media, and Copyright & trademark. Learn more about the Twitter Rules here, and our range of options to enforce them here.

 

Twitter Brand Safety Policies

Our Brand Safety policies, as well as the controls we offer people and advertisers, build upon the foundation laid by the Twitter Rules to promote a safe advertising experience for all customers and brands. Our Brand Safety policies inform the context in which we serve ads, and include, but are not limited to:

  • Adult Sexual Content
  • Hate or Extremist Content
  • Profanity & Offensive Language
  • Restricted and Illegal Products and Services 
  • Sensitive Content
  • Violent, Objectionable or Graphic Content

For more information on how our Brand Safety policies are enforced across the platform, see “Safeguarding Advertising Experiences on Twitter” below. Learn more about our Brand Safety Policy here and its application in the Amplify Pre-Roll program here

While our Brand Safety policies help inform ad placement on Twitter, we also have Advertising Policies that determine permissible content in ads and conduct of advertisers on Twitter. Learn more about our Ads Policies here.

 

Controls for Advertisers

We strongly believe in empowering our advertisers to control the placement of their ads on Twitter, and we’re actively working to expand our available controls. Here’s what we offer today:

Twitter Amplify Brand Safety Controls
Amplify pairs brands with the most premium, timely publisher video content and the audiences coming to Twitter for it. Advertisers can choose to align their content with premium publishers from within any of the standard IAB categories. When setting up this type of campaign, Advertisers can choose to exclude any of the IAB content categories and can also exclude up to 50 specific Content Partner handles. Advertisers can also take advantage of Twitter-curated content categories beyond the standard slate. When creating this type of campaign, they will be provided a list of the Content Partners contributing to each category and can choose to exclude up to 5 of those handles.

Campaign Placement Controls
We give Advertisers control over the areas within the Twitter platform where their campaigns may be displayed so that they can customize their delivery based on their comfort level. Most campaign objectives allow for excluding ads from serving on profiles or within search results. Follower campaigns can not opt out of running in search results and Twitter Amplify campaigns can not opt out of running in either profiles or search results.

Twitter Audience Platform Controls
Advertisers running campaigns on the Twitter Audience Platform (TAP) can select up to 2,000 apps to exclude from delivery. Note that TAP placement is only available as an option for Website Clicks, App Download or App Re-engagement objectives.

Keyword Targeting
Keyword targeting allows our advertisers to reach people on Twitter based on their behavior, including keywords used in their search queries or their recent Tweets, and keywords used in Tweets they recently engaged with. This targeting option can help brands reach their most relevant audiences. Advertisers can also exclude keywords from their campaigns to prevent Ads from placement among search results for excluded terms, and from serving to audiences who have Tweeted or engaged with these terms.

 

Controls for Everyone

We are continually investing in new ways to give people additional control over the conversations they start on Twitter, and have several features actively in use today.

Hidden Replies
All people on Twitter have the capability to hide any replies to any of their Tweets that they deem abusive or irrelevant to the conversation. Learn more here. In August 2020 we released an API endpoint for this capability to allow our API Partners to build more automated ways to employ this feature.

Conversation Settings
In August of 2020, we made new conversation settings available to everyone on Twitter, allowing people to have more control over the conversations they start. These conversation settings let everyone choose who can reply to their Tweets with three options: 1) everyone (standard Twitter, and the default setting), 2) only people they follow, or 3) only people they mention. As of March 2021, over 11 million people had applied conversation settings to 70 million conversations.

Beginning in March of 2021, we made these capabilities available to our advertisers when they compose Tweets directly through Tweet Composer or through our Ads API. This update extends the ability to apply conversation settings to Promoted-only Tweets and to those that use our most popular ad formats, in addition to organic Tweets.

 

Safeguarding Advertising Experiences on Twitter

In addition to the controls available to everyone on Twitter and our brand safety controls for advertisers, Twitter leverages a combination of Machine Learning and human review to ensure that ads do not serve around objectionable content. 

Adjacency to Sensitive Media in Timeline
Twitter prevents ad placement adjacent to Tweets that have been labeled as “Sensitive Media” by our Twitter Service Team or by the Tweets’ authors, including media containing graphic violence and consensually produced adult content as defined under our Sensitive Media policy. People on Twitter are also able to self-classify their Tweets as sensitive.

Ensuring Brand Safety in the Twitter Amplify Program
Every Tweet from our partners goes through two levels of scrutiny before it becomes monetizable through our Amplify Pre-Roll program:

  1. Algorithmic check which scans Tweet text for any unsafe language

  2. Manual human review of every single monetized video to ensure that they meet our Brand Safety standards

We also hold regular proactive educational sessions with our partners to help them successfully monetize their content on Twitter within our brand safety standards. In addition to these universal monetization standards, we also empower advertisers to customize their Amplify campaigns in the ways mentioned above.

Promoting Brand-Safe placement in Search
Twitter monitors conversations and trending topics around the world 24 hours a day, and removes ads from search results we deem unsafe for ads. This internal keyword denylist list is updated on a regular basis, and applies to all campaigns globally. As a search is conducted, this denylist is referenced and if a search term appears on the list, no Promoted Ads will serve on that term’s search results page. The same denylist applies when customers click a trending topic and are taken to the results page for that trend.

Brand Safety Controls for Ads on Profiles
Every time a profile is updated, our machine learning model searches the content of the profile page with the goal of ensuring that content is brand safe, according to our Brand Safety policies, before a Promoted Ad is served. We only serve ads on profiles that we deem to be safe for ads. We may also block ads from serving on individual customer profiles based on the content or behavior of the account and lack of alignment with our Brand Safety policies.

Keyword Targeting Restrictions
Twitter maintains a global denylist of Keyword Targeting terms that are not permitted to be used as parameters for positive keyword targeting (audiences associated with these terms can still be excluded through keyword exclusion targeting). This list is continually updated and includes a wide variety of terms that most brands would consider to be unsafe, as well as terms that are not allowed to be targeted per our Ads Policies. Learn more about our policies for Keyword Targeting here.

Audience Filtering and Validation
Twitter excludes accounts we suspect may be automated from monetizable audiences, helping to ensure valid traffic on ads. We also offer viewability measurement through integrations with multiple MRC-accredited third parties.

Private Conversations
Twitter is a public platform, and we work to ensure this open forum remains healthy through our policies and platform capabilities. Direct Messages, while private between the sender and recipients (up to a max of 50), are subject to the Twitter Rules, as are all individuals and content on Twitter. In a Direct Message conversation, when a participant reports another person, we will stop the violator from sending messages to the person who reported them. The conversation will also be removed from the reporter's inbox. We will review reports and action appropriately.

 

Transparency, Measurement, and Independent Accreditation

First published in July 2012, our biannual Twitter Transparency Report highlights trends in legal requests, intellectual property-related requests, Twitter Rules enforcement, platform manipulation, and email privacy best practices. The report also provides insight into whether or not we take action on these requests. First published in July 2012, our biannual Twitter Transparency Report highlights trends in legal requests, intellectual property-related requests, Twitter Rules enforcement, platform manipulation, and email privacy best practices. The report also provides insight into whether or not we take action on these requests. In August 2020, we completely revamped these reports and consolidated them into a comprehensive Transparency Center. See our latest update here.

Transparency in advertising is also a core belief for us. In December 2020, as part of our efforts to provide increased transparency to our partners, we made two announcements

First, we committed to undergo the accreditation process across all four of the MRC’s offered Accreditation Services: Viewability, Sophisticated Invalid Traffic Filtration, Audience Measurement and Brand Safety. We will prioritize the Brand Safety accreditation but believe that all four are critical in demonstrating our enduring commitment to transparency.

We also announced that following an extensive 5 month vetting process, we selected DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science to be our preferred partners for providing independent reporting on the context in which ads appear on Twitter. This is an opportunity to build solutions that will give advertisers a better understanding of the types of content that appear adjacent to their ads, helping them make informed decisions to reach their marketing goals.

Twitter provides additional transparency into campaign performance through measurement solutions and third-party studies based on your objectives. Our goal is to empower advertisers with measurement solutions to help you understand how your campaigns help achieve your broader marketing and business goals. 

Learn more about our current measurement solutions here.

In March 2021, Twitter successfully earned the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) Brand Safety Certified Seal, which covers Twitter’s global operations and was attained via independent audit. Learn more about this certification here.

 
Our Commitment to Health Over Time

We’ve made significant improvements in the Health and Brand Safety over the past several years. Health has always been and will remain a top priority for Twitter and our work is ever-evolving. Here are a few notable changes we’ve made in the last few years:

2021

September

  • We began testing a feature that allows automated accounts to identify themselves to give people more context about who they’re interacting with on Twitter. 
  • In an effort to ensure that people are able to engage with the public conversation in safe and healthy ways, we began a public test of a new feature called Safety Mode. When someone on Twitter activates this feature, it autoblocks accounts for 7 days that may use harmful language or send repetitive, uninvited replies or mentions.

August

  • We began testing a new reporting flow in the United States, South Korea and Australia which allows people to report Tweets that seem misleading. The intention of this pilot is to better understand whether this is an effective approach to address misinformation on the platform. We plan to iterate on this workflow as we learn from our test.
  • To promote credible information about vaccines, we served a COVID-19 PSA at the top of people’s Timelines in 14 global markets. These prompts push people to local information covering a wide range of topics relevant to that country including topics like vaccine safety, effectiveness, availability and distribution plans.   
  • Stemming from growing concerns around the impact of certain types of ads on physical, mental health, and body image, particularly for minors, we updated our global advertising policies to include restrictions on weight loss content, particularly prohibiting the targeting of minors.
  • Twitter condemns racism in all its forms - our aim is to become the world’s most diverse, inclusive, and accessible tech company, and lead the industry in stopping such abhorrent views being shared on our platform. We published a blog post detailing our analysis of the conversation around the Euro 2020 final and laying out the steps we put in place to quickly identify and remove racist, abusive Tweets targeting the England team, the wider Euros conversation and the football conversation in general.
  • We announced new partnerships with @AP and @Reuters as one part of our ongoing efforts to help people understand the conversation happening on Twitter. People experience a range of public conversations on our service every day, and we’re committed to continuing our work to elevate credible information and context. 

July

  • As part of our ongoing effort to improve Twitter’s accessibility, we introduced captions for voice Tweets, allowing more people to join the conversation.
  • We announced that we signed an agreement with the Media Ratings Council (MRC) for the Brand Safety pre-assessment. This represents a milestone in our progress towards our commitment to earning all four of the MRC’s accreditations in Viewability, Sophisticated Invalid Traffic Filtration, Audience Measurement and Brand Safety.
  • We released our latest update to the Twitter Transparency Center, inclusive of data from July 1 to December 31, 2020. As part of this release, we shared a new metric for the first time - impressions - which is the number of views violative Tweets received prior to removal. We found that impressions on violative Tweets accounted for less than 0.1% of all impressions of all Tweets during the reporting time frame and that 77% of these Tweets received fewer than 100 impressions prior to removal.
  • In an update to the conversation settings we introduced in August of 2020, we made it possible for people on Twitter to change who can reply to a Tweet after it has been Tweeted out. This tweak to the product is designed to give people more control over their conversations in overwhelming moments when their Tweets may be getting more attention than they previously anticipated.
  • Abuse and harassment disproportionately affect women and underrepresented communities online and our top priority is keeping everyone who uses Twitter safe and free from abuse. Following a year-long consultative process working alongside partner NGOs, Twitter committed to the Web Foundation’s framework to end online gender-based violence as part of the @UN_Women #GenerationEquality initiative.

June

  • In collaboration with key industry partners, Twitter released an open letter in response to the Digital Services Act, calling on the EU commission to protect the Digital Single Market, fair competition, and the Open Internet.
  • We updated the Twitter Help Center to more clearly articulate when we will take enforcement action moving forward on our Hateful Conduct & Abusive Behavior policies which prohibit abuse and harassment of protected categories, & cover a wide range of behaviors. Specifically, we do not permit the denial of violent events, including abusive references to specific events where protected categories were the primary victims. This policy now covers targeted and non-targeted content.

May

  • Twitter engaged OpenSlate to provide third-party verification of the safety and suitability of the content in our Twitter Amplify offering. The study found that of the over 455,000 monetized videos analyzed, 100% fell above the industry-standard GARM Brand Safety Floor. They also found that 99.9% of analyzed videos were considered low risk, based on OpenSlate’s proprietary video content categorization and the GARM Brand Suitability Framework.
  • For people on Twitter with English-language settings enabled, we introduced prompts that encourage people to pause and reconsider a potentially harmful or offensive reply before they hit send. We know that people come to Twitter to find, read about and discuss their interests and that sometimes when things get heated, people say mean things they might regret. In an effort to make Twitter a better place, when we detect potentially harmful or offensive Tweet replies, we'll prompt people and ask them to review their replies before Tweeting. This change comes after multiple tests resulting in people sending fewer potentially offensive replies across the service, and improved behavior on Twitter.

April

  • Twitter testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee regarding our approach to responsible machine learning technology, focused on taking responsibility for our algorithmic decisions, equity and fairness of outcomes, transparency about our decisions and enabling agency and algorithmic choice.
  • We introduced an interstitial addressing COVID-19 vaccines at the top of people’s timelines in 16 markets around the world as part of World Immunization Week. The prompts directed customers to market-specific information on vaccine safety, effectiveness and availability, ensuring access to credible sources and combatting public health misinformation.
  • We introduced Twitter’s first Global Impact Report, a cohesive representation of our work across corporate responsibility, sustainability, and philanthropy. We consider this report to be a big step in our commitment to sharing more about the work we know is important to the people we serve.

March

  • We officially launched new Curated Categories within our Twitter Amplify offering in the US, the UK, Brazil and MENA. These categories are Twitter-curated sets of publishers that are bundled together around specific themes and they are designed to help Advertisers reach their audiences by aligning with brand safe, feel-good content.
  • We put out a call for responses to a public survey to help inform the future of our policy approach to world leaders. Politicians and government officials are constantly evolving how they use our service, and we look to our community to help us ensure that our policies remain relevant to the ever-changing nature of political discourse on Twitter and protect the health of the public conversation.
  • Twitter successfully earned the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) Brand Safety Certified Seal, which covers Twitter’s global operations and was attained via independent audit.
  • Following the launch of conversation settings for everyone on Twitter in August 2020, we made it possible for our advertisers to use conversation settings when they compose Tweets in our Ads Manager. This update extends the ability to apply conversation settings to Promoted-only Tweets and to those that use our most popular ad formats, in addition to organic Tweets.
  • We announced that moving forward we will apply labels to Tweets that may contain misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines, in addition to our continued efforts to remove the most harmful COVID-19 misleading information from the service. These changes are made in accordance with our COVID-19 policy which we expanded in December of 2020.

February

  • We disclosed the removal of 373 accounts related to independent, state-affiliated information operations for violations to our platform manipulation policies. These operations were attributed to Armenia, Russia and a previously disclosed network from Iran.

January

  • We further expanded our Hateful Conduct policy to prohibit inciting behavior that targets individuals or groups of people belonging to protected categories. This includes incitement of fear or spreading fearful stereotypes, incitement of harassment on or off platform, and incitement to deny economic support.
  • We launched a pilot for a community-driven approach to address misinformation on Twitter, which we're calling Birdwatch. In this pilot, we will allow a select group of participants in the United States identify Tweets they believe are misleading, write public notes to add context, and rate the quality of other participants’ notes.
  • We updated the Twitter Transparency Center with data reflecting the timeframe of January 1, 2020 - June 30, 2020. We released a blog post highlighting the trends and insights surfaced in this latest disclosure, including the impact of COVID-19 during the reporting timeframe.
  • In the wake of the events at the US Capitol on January 6, we took unprecedented action to enforce our policies against Glorification of Violence. In light of these events, we took additional action to protect the conversation on our service from attempts to incite violence, organize attacks, and share deliberately misleading information about the election outcome.
2020

December

  • As the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the global distribution of vaccines, we announced that we will be expanding our COVID-19 policy. Moving forward, we may require people to remove Tweets which advance harmful false or misleading narratives about COVID-19 vaccinations and beginning in early 2021, we may label or place a warning on Tweets that advance unsubstantiated rumors, disputed claims, as well as incomplete or out-of-context information about vaccines.
  • We announced that we've selected Integral Ad Science (IAS) and Double Verify (DV) to be Twitter's preferred partners for providing independent reporting on the context in which ads appear on Twitter.
  • We have announced that we have committed to working with the Media Ratings Council (MRC) to begin the accreditation process across all four of their offered Accreditation Services: Viewability, Sophisticated Invalid Traffic Filtration, Audience Measurement, and Brand Safety.
  • We expanded our hateful conduct policy to extend to Tweets which seek to dehumanize people on the basis of race, ethnicity and national origin.

November

In the week following the 2020 US Elections, we shared some key statistics about the labels, warnings, and additional restrictions we applied to Tweets that included potentially misleading information about the US Election from October 27 to November 11:

  • Approximately 300,000 Tweets were labeled under our Civic Integrity Policy for content that was disputed and potentially misleading. These represent 0.2% of all US election-related Tweets sent during this time period.

  • 456 of those Tweets were also covered by a warning message and had engagement features limited (Tweets could be Quote Tweeted but not Retweeted, replied to or liked).

  • Approximately 74% of the people who viewed those Tweets saw them after we applied a label or warning message.

  • We saw an estimated 29% decrease in Quote Tweets of these labeled Tweets due in part to a prompt that warned people prior to sharing.

October

Ahead of the 2020 US Elections, we implemented a slate of additional, significant product and enforcement updates aimed at increasing context and encouraging more thoughtful consideration before Tweets are amplified. These updates included:

  • In accordance with our expanded civic integrity policy, we announced that people on Twitter, including candidates for office, may not claim an election win before it is authoritatively called. Tweets which include premature claims will be labeled and will direct people to our official US election page. Additionally, Tweets meant to incite interference with the election process or with the implementation of election results, such as through violent action, will be subject to removal. 

  • We introduced enhanced prompts and warnings on Tweets that feature misleading information including a prompt which provides credible information for people before they are able to amplify misleading messages. We also added additional warnings and restrictions on Tweets with a misleading information label from US political figures and US-based accounts with more than 100,000 followers, or that obtain significant engagement.

  • To encourage more thoughtful amplification of information on the platform, we implemented some temporary changes or the period surrounding the election. These changes include encouraging people to add their own commentary prior to amplifying content by prompting them to Quote Tweet instead of Retweet and only surfacing Trends in the “For You” tab in the United States that include additional context.

September

  • We launched a new feature to prompt people to read news articles before they amplify them. This has resulted in people opening articles 40% more often after seeing the prompt and a 33% increase in people opening articles before they Retweet.

  • We expanded our Civic Integrity Policy to help us more effectively address attempts to abuse Twitter in a manner that could lead to suppression of voting and other harms to civic processes. We will now label or remove false or misleading information intended to undermine voter turnout and/or erode public confidence in an election or other civic process.
  • Twitter is part of the inaugural group of companies to hold the Brand Safety Certified Seal from TAG (the Trustworthy Accountability Group) as part of their new TAG Brand Safety Certified Program. This indicates that Twitter meets all of the requirements of upholding an industry regulated framework for Brand Safety in the UK.

August

  • We introduced the Twitter Transparency Center which highlights our efforts across a broader array of topics than had previously been shared in our Twitter Transparency Reports. We now include intuitive, interactive sections covering information requests, removal requests, copyright notices, trademark notices, email security, Twitter Rules enforcement, platform manipulation, and state-backed information operations. We have also newly introduced reporting on actions broken out by both content type and geographic location.
  • In a step towards our goal of improving conversation health and ensuring that Twitter is a safe space for all people, we released new Tweet Settings designed to give people more control over their conversations by letting them choose who can reply to their Tweets.
  • We began labeling accounts belonging to state-affiliated media entities and official representatives of the US, UK, France, Russia, and China. We will also no longer amplify state-affiliated media accounts through our recommendation systems including on the home timeline, notifications, and search.

July

  • We expanded our policy to address links to websites that feature hateful conduct or violence. Our goal is to block links in a way that’s consistent with how we remove Tweets that violate our rules, and reduce the amount of harmful content on Twitter from outside sources.

June

  • We made our latest disclosure of information on more than 30,000 accounts in our archive of state-linked information operations, the only one of its kind in the industry, regarding three distinct operations that we attributed to the People's Republic of China (PRC), Russia, and Turkey.

May

  • We began testing new settings that let you choose who can reply to your Tweet and join your conversation.
  • We introduced new labels and warning messages that provide additional context and information on some Tweets containing disputed or misleading information.

April

  • Twitter UK was certified against the IAB’s Gold Standard v1.1. This certification reinforces our commitment to reduce ad fraud, improve the digital advertising experience, and increase brand safety within the UK market.

March

  • We further expanded our rules against dehumanizing speech to prohibiting language that dehumanizes on the basis of age, disability or disease.

  • We broadened our definition of harm to address content that goes directly against guidance on COVID-19 from authoritative sources of global and local public health information.

February

  • Informed by public feedback, we launched our policy on synthetic information and manipulated media, outlining how we’ll treat this content when we identify it. 

January

  • We launched a dedicated search prompt intended to protect the public conversation and help people find authoritative health information around COVID-19. This work is constantly evolving, and the latest information can be found here.

2019

December

  • We launched the Twitter Privacy Center to provide more clarity around what we’re doing to protect the information people share with us. We believe companies should be accountable to the people that trust them with their personal information, and responsible not only to protect that information but to explain how they do it.

November

  • We made the decision to globally prohibit the promotion of political content. We made this decision based on our belief that political message reach should be earned, not bought.

  • We launched the option to hide replies to Tweets to everyone globally.

  • Twitter became certified against the DTSG Good Practice Principles from JICWEBS.

  • We asked the public for feedback on a new rule to address synthetic and manipulated media.

October

  • We clarified our principles & approach to reviewing reported Tweets from world leaders.

  • We published our most recent Transparency Report covering H1 2019.

  • We launched 24/7 internal monitoring of trending topics to promote brand safety on search results.

August

  • We updated our advertising policies to reflect that we would no longer accept advertising from state-controlled news media entities.

July

  • Informed by public feedback, we launched our policy prohibiting dehumanizing speech on the basis of religion.

June

  • We joined the Global Alliance for Responsible Media at Cannes.

  • We refreshed our Rules with simple, clear language, paring down from 2,500 words to under 600.

  • We clarified our criteria for allowing certain Tweets that violate our rules to remain on Twitter because they are in the public’s interest.

April

  • We shared an update on our progress towards improving the health of the public conversation, one year after declaring it a top company priority.

2018

October

  • We released all of the accounts and related content associated with potential information operations that we found on our service since 2016. This was our first of many disclosures we’ve since made for our public archive of state-backed information operations.

September

  • We asked the public for feedback on an upcoming policy expansion around dehumanizing speech, and took this feedback into consideration to update our rules.

May

  • We made the decision to exclude accounts we suspect may be automated from monetizable audiences, meaning we do not serve ads to these accounts. Learn more about how we identify automated accounts here.

March

  • We launched 24/7 human review of all monetized publisher content for Amplify Pre-Roll, along with an all-new Brand Safety policy for the program.

  • Jack publicly announced our commitment and approach to making Twitter a safer place.

 

Opportunities

We recognize the importance of measurable, brand-safe ad placement and we're working on solutions aimed at enhancing our controls available to advertisers, our measurement capabilities, and our third-party reporting in this space.

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