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Oops! Nielsen pulls campaign after ad appeared on Twitter porn profile

The latest advertiser to have its ad appear near questionable content is Nielsen.

The television ratings and data firm had to pull its Promoted Tweets campaign after one of these appeared on a porn Twitter profile.

According to Adweek, Nielsen’s promos showed up on Twitter profile pages called “Daily Dick Pictures” and “Homemade Porn.” A source told Adweek that ads are not supposed to appear on a profile page with X-rated content, and a bug was to blame.

Other brands found to be in pornographic tweets were those from NBCUniversal and Gatorade as well, reported the article. It also reported Robert Peck, a SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst stating that there could be as many as 10 million Twitter accounts dedicated to sharing pornography, and that Twitter needs to do a better job of blocking them.

What went wrong?

Industry players question the platform’s filtering processes, saying this affects its viability as an ad platform.

Ryan Lim, founding partner of digital consultancy QED said that Twitter does reactive policing of its content and accounts, “as this is cheaper”.

Active policing, with automated filters and processes, would be more expensive, and it appears the social media giant is struggling with revenues.

However, if this doesn’t change, more such glitches can be expected with its advertising offerings.

Compared to the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn, genuinity of accounts is also not as strong, with users able to have many accounts – without being able to authenticate these, added Lim.

A Twitter spokesperson told Marketing that it is aware of the issues around Promoted Tweets. “This is an industry-wide issue and one that we take extremely seriously. We’re aware that Promoted Tweets are being displayed on some profiles that contain inappropriate content. We are committed to providing a safe environment for brands to build their business and our product team is working to fix the issue,” he said.

Just last year in a quarterly report filed with the US Securities Exchange Commission, Twitter revealed that as many as 23 million, or 8.5% of its 271 million active monthly users reported in June, are people accessing its content via auto-pull users – that is, bots. (Read more on Twitter denies report that 23 million users are not human)

However, Twitter has made concerted efforts to clean up its platform.

In March this year, it also changed its  rules to state that it would forbid users from posting revenge porn and non-consensual nudes.  It also updated its Abusive Behavior Policy with the same language.

Meanwhile, beyond Twitter, brand safety across the digital sphere has long been an issue.

Most recently, brands were found on now banned site The Real Singapore, leading industry players to ask if programmatic buying was to blame.  (Read also: Is programmatic buying fuelling sites such as The Real Singapore?)

“In the socially connected world we live in, sometimes good old fashion community and self- policing is more effective and efficient than technology algorithms who are trying to decipher morality, law and societal norms,” said CtrlShift executive chairman, Reza Behnam.

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