When Melissa White, owner of Lucky Bloke, a condom company, attempted to pay for her tweets to be promoted after receiving a promotional email from the social media powerhouse, she was shocked at the response. She received notification from Twitter that her tweets violated their advertising policy therefore could not be promoted. According to Twitter’s policies the “promotion of adult or sexual products and services” is prohibited. This includes contraceptives although special dispensations are supposed to be made for companies promoting sexual health awareness so long as no “sexual content” is present.
White’s company focuses not solely on condom sales, it also emphasizes sexual health and well-being through protection. White believes that Twitter is among the chorus of companies that still harbor antiquated views on modern sexuality and their refusal to promote her tweets are evidence of this.
Lucky Bloke isn’t the only protester. Momdom, a purveyor of condom tins designed to help ease the “birds and bees” talk with teens, was met with the same canned response to it’s tweet promotion.
The problem according to both White and Momdom’s co-owner, Wayne Simpkins, goes beyond antiquated ideology. Sexual health organizations like The STD Project & Bedsider, both advocates for sexual health in their own ways, have either been barred from promoting tweets or undertook great effort to ensure their tweets met Twitter’s very Victorian guidelines when it comes to sexual health topics. White sums up the crux of the issue on her petition in this way:
“Our simple request for Twitter: Kindly remove condoms from Twitter Ads content blacklist. In the fight against the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies, condoms are the first line of defense. If you restrict the distribution of condoms, you are restricting efforts to save lives.”
Lucky Bloke, Momdom and even more well-known organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have long since known the importance of education in preventing the spread of STIs. Gates’ foundation has gone so far as to develop a more pleasurable condom in order to encourage its continued and repeated use. For this connected generation, what better way to push a message than through the mediums its members are already engulfed in, like Twitter?
For more information on sexual health in the digital age, contact us at the Sultry Dish.