Major Advertisers Suspend Marketing On Twitter Over Ad Placement Next To Child Pornography Accounts

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Major advertisers such as Dyson, Mazda, Forbes and PBS Kids have paused their marketing campaigns and/or removed advertising from Twitter over concerns of child pornography on the platform.

Thirty advertisers have appeared on profile pages of Twitter accounts attempting to sell and distribute exploitative materials of child sexual abuse, according to a review by Reuters of research conducted by cybersecurity group Ghost Data. Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, and Coca Cola Co. and even a children’s hospital were among those to have appeared on the pages, the outlet continued.

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

Cole Haan’s advertisements were found alongside a tweet in which a user claimed to be “trading teen/child content,” Reuters reported. Other brand advertisements were noted near tweets that included key words related to “rape” and “teens,” according to the outlet.

Texas-based Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital’s promoted tweet appeared next to a post searching for content featuring “yung girls ONLY, NO Boys,” Reuters reported. A Twitter spokesperson told the outlet that the company has a “zero tolerance for child sexual exploitation,” and the platform is investing in more resources to focus on child safety.

“Twitter needs to fix this problem ASAP, and until they do, we are going to cease any further paid activity on Twitter,” a spokesperson from Forbes told Reuters. A Disney spokesperson called the content “reprehensible.” (RELATED: ‘I Was Just A Body, A Receptacle For His Desires’: Mena Suvari Describes Being Manipulated Into Having Threesomes)

Twitter bans depictions of child exploitation, but has struggled to mitigate child abuse content from the site, according to an investigation by The Verge. Despite frequently removing and censoring content and banning users from the platform, Ghost Data found more than 500 accounts that openly shared or requested child sexual abuse content over just a 20-day period in September.

The company failed to remove more than 70% of these accounts during the research period, Reuters noted. Reuters shared this content with Twitter in late September, leading the platform to delete roughly 300 accounts. More than 100 other users remained on the site the following day, according to reviews by the outlet.