Campaign Success! Twitter Changes Policy on Condoms

61- tweet 4 condomsAfter intense pressure from sexual health advocates, Twitter has finally modified their policy that blocked advertisements for condoms and sexual health.

Twitter lifted its ban on condom retailer Lucky Bloke, the first company to speak out about the issue, after nine months of complaints and a public campaign to get the policy changed.

“For the many of you who championed our #Tweet4Condoms campaign, I want to thank you sincerely for lending your voice and support.  It is exciting to see that, united, we can make a positive difference even when standing up to a tech giant,” writes Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke.

Lucky Bloke educates consumers about proper condom fit. Their central messages is that knowing one’s size and how to find what condoms fit best increases sexual pleasure and therefore increases consistent condom use.

However, Lucky Blokes’ frank discussion about sexual pleasure was deemed too racy for Twitter and their account was banned from advertising. Twitter’s old policy on “adult and sexual content” meant that any messages about condoms that mentioned pleasure would be outlawed.

But as we’ve stated before, how can you- more importantly, why should you- disconnect condoms from sex and pleasure. Lucky Bloke and other sexual health advocates felt that Twitter’s confusing ban on safer sex messaging marginalized condoms as “adult” content instead of an important public health issue. To stigmatize safer sex products in such a way is irresponsible and dangerous.

Hence, in the summer of 2014, Lucky Bloke launched the #Tweet4Condoms campaign, which sparked international attention about sexual health advocates held back by the policies of social media giants.

After intense pressure, Twitter re-categorized condoms, as well as personal lubes and contraceptives as “health and pharmaceutical products.” Twitter still prohibits any ads that link to “sexual content” and messages about condoms are still subject to review by Twitter. However, their new listing of condoms and contraceptives as a health product is step in the right direction.

Melissa White told RH Reality Check that she is “incredibly encouraged” by Twitter’s policy changes and Lucky Bloke’s account reinstatement. “To have them budge at all shows critical progress can be made. And for that we should celebrate a little,” White said. “We invite tech giants like Twitter, that have this incredible opportunity to join us and work together to end sexual health stigma and censorship for good.”

You can read more about the #Tweet4Condoms campaign here.

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@Twitter: Keeping us safe from condoms, one tweet at a time (Part 2)

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Is your sexual health important to you? Us too!

Lucky Bloke, where I am founder and CEO, has been inundated for months with emails from
“Twitter for Business,” urging us to try out @TwitterAds and turn our followers into customers.

We submitted this sponsored tweet to @TwitterAds program. It was swiftly rejected:

tweet-tweet

This is hardly explicit or x-rated. (Frankly, it’s not even r-rated.)
Furthermore, neither this tweet (nor our website) link to explicit “sexual content.” Nonetheless, not only was this tweet rejected, our entire account was deemed ineligible because Twitter doesn’t actually allow promotion of safer sex items or contraceptives – even including education around safer sex.

What is actually at work here is the perpetuation of stigma and shame around sex.
Our blacklisted tweet does acknowledge one thing: The essential role pleasure plays in improving consistent condom use. Studies show that if a condom doesn’t fit properly, men are less likely to use them. Lucky Bloke responds to this need by advising customers on their condom options and how to choose proper-fitting condoms.

Twitter’s ban on sexual health items and education is not acceptable.

We are committed to standing up for sexual health and demand that Twitter change it’s faulty policy.
Sign our petition to Twitter to change its advertising policy. Join us as we #Tweet4Condoms!
Twitter states that in 1.1 million people on Twitter in the U.S. alone are interested in health.
However, organizations and businesses dedicated to promoting safer sex education are denied Twitter’s huge audience.

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

Join us and take a stand.

For public and global health. Because sexual care is health care!
Ready to be heard?

SIGN OUR PETITION
(Please note, you can sign the petition without displaying your name. Your privacy is important to us too!)

Other’s Are Speaking Out

Lucky Bloke isn’t alone. Other nationally renown businesses and organizations such as TheSTDProject and Bedsider (two of our Expert Contributors) are also speaking out against the challenges with Twitter that have blocked their sex education outreach.

We’re demanding change with our #tweet4condoms campaign.

In the last few days, Lucky Bloke’s hashtag #Tweet4Condoms has generated over 2500 tweets from very influential organizations like Planned Parenthood, Advocates for Youth and Bedsider!

We’ve had great coverage in ThinkProgress, RH Reality Check and you can read our CEO, Melissa’s op-ed here! We’ve had amazing people sharing via their blogs, and publications have even started their own petition (with more than 4,600 signatures) to help get Twitter to change their ad policy so that it supports the dissemination of crucial health information about sexual health and condoms.

The momentum sparked other organizations — Bedsider, Momdoms and The STD Project — to courageously come forward to speak about how Twitter has blocked their accounts or censored their sponsored tweets that contain “sexual content.” Read about it via RH Reality Check!

Larry Swiader, director of digital media at Bedsider, who has had inconsistent success advertising sexual health messages with Twitter has described the situation best:

“They’ve asked us not to talk about sex in a way that is overtly pleasurable, if you will,” …“It’s a funny request because sex is pleasurable, it should be, and it’s healthy when it is. So it puts people in a bind, especially somebody like Melissa [White, CEO of Lucky Bloke], whose business model is built around the idea that people disassociate pleasure from condoms, and that’s part of the reason people don’t use them.”

Let’s acknowledge condoms for what they are: a necessary, safe, socially acceptable way for people to protect their health — and let’s encourage Twitter to show the world that they are utterly unafraid to challenge anyone who attempts to stigmatize or marginalize condom use.

Become our ally. Sign our petition. Share our cause. Take a stand for sexual health.

SIGN OUR PETITION

All the ways you can support the cause and share the campaign:

  • SIGNING: our petition asking Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo to remove stigmatizing
    and harmful restrictions on condom advertising. http://bit.ly/LBpetition
  • SHARING: the campaign’s media coverage!
    ThinkProgress: Twitter Is Being Pressured To Stop Censoring Ads About Condoms
    RH Reality Check (Our op-ed): Twitter Banned My Company From Promoting Safe Condom Use
    RH Reality Check: Twitter Bans Company From Advertising Condoms, Citing ‘Adult or Sexual Products’ Policy
  • TWEETING: @twitter / @TwitterAds / @DickC (Twitter’s CEO)
    with the campaign hashtag: #Tweet4Condoms

Here are some tweets. Copy/paste your pick!

#Tweet4Condoms because sexual care is health care: http://bit.ly/LBpetition  #Tweet4condoms

A #condom a day keeps the doctor away!  http://bit.ly/LBpetition #Tweet4Condoms

Condoms are a global health necessity. I stand w/ @theluckybloke to change @Twitter‘s ad policies http://bit.ly/Tweet4Condoms #Tweet4Condoms

You can start a revolution for your country on @twitter, but no ads for . So, we’re starting a pro-condom revolution!

 #Tweet4Condoms because if you restrict the distribution of condoms, you are restricting efforts to save lives http://bit.ly/LBpetition

Put an end to @TwitterAds restrictions that impede condom access. Sign #petition http://bit.ly/LBpetition #Tweet4Condoms

Link to our petition: http://bit.ly/LBpetition  OR share our other images below!
on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram…actually, anywhere you’d like…

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All the condoms thank you! (And so do we!)