Tell Twitter to end the ban on contraception advertising

Join the RH Reality Check community and
other signers to tell Twitter to stop the bad public health practice of shaming people for having sex and to classify contraceptive devices as health products.


Condoms are classified by the Food and Drug Administration as medical devices, [1] and health experts around the world know that they save lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls contraception one of the most important public health advances of the 20th century. [2] But social media giant Twitter can't seem to decide [3] if condoms are nasty, dirty, no-good "adult" products or barely tolerated sexual shaming opportunities. Moreover, its policy on condom and contraceptive ads [4] is misleading and unclear.

With an ad exclusion policy [5] that ranks contraceptives [6] alongside endangered species products and hate speech, Twitter confusingly says that some condom ads are allowed in the United States … but not if they link to sexual content. Is there some other use for condoms than safer sex? An ad from the Lucky Bloke condom company reading, “Tired of lousy condoms? LuckyBloke.com Condom Experts: shipping the world’s best condoms (world-wide) w/a 100% money-back guarantee" was rejected by Twitter as part of a policy that ostensibly allows safer sex or HIV and sexually transmitted disease awareness campaigns.

Funny and sexy ads for sexual health practices work better among many populations because people often respond positively to them.

Scary, morbid ads that associate sex only with disease, if sex is mentioned at all, often make people turn away and end up discouraging the sexual health habits that do prevent unwanted outcomes.

Twitter needs to grow up. The fear of talking about sex except to bash it has always been annoying. Now that the results from public health campaigns around the world are in, we can prove that in many cases it doesn't work either. Sex-shaming can cost people their health, their happiness, and sometimes even their lives. It needs to stop.

Join us to tell Twitter to stop the bad public health practice of shaming people for having sex and classify contraceptive devices as health products.

[1] - "Product Classification: Condom," U.S. Food and Drug Administration, page last updated, June 2, 2014.

[2] - "Ten Great Public Health Achievements -- United States, 1900-1999," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 2, 1999.

[3] - "Twitter Banned My Company From Promoting Safe Condom Use," by Melissa White, Lucky Bloke, RH Reality Check, June 4, 2014.

[4] - "Twitter Bans Company From Advertising Condoms, Citing ‘Adult or Sexual Products’ Policy (Updated)," by Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check, June 4, 2014.

[5] - "Advertiser policies," Twitter.

[6] - "Adult or sexual products," Twitter.