Last month, Twitter (along with other large tech platforms) imposed a sudden blanket ban on advertising / paid posts which referred to coronavirus or Covid-19. The intention was to immediately stop unscrupulous advertisers from taking advantage of the panic surrounding the pandemic.
However, it is clear that we are in this for the long haul, and the landscape is shifting, so many brands and agencies have been calling for a more nuanced and pragmatic approach.
As Twitter puts it "in response to the shifting advertising landscape, and in order to support helpful causes during this time, [Twitter is] now allowing managed clients and partners to advertise content containing implicit or explicit reference to COVID-19# [in certain contexts]".
Twitter's new ad policy came into effect on Thursday, 2 April 2020, and allows advertising and paid posts in the following circumstances and to promote the following:
a) Adjustments to business practices and/or models in response to COVID-19, and
b) Support for customers and employees related to COVID-19
However, these will still be subject to strict restrictions, namely:
- Distasteful references to COVID-19 (or variations) are prohibited
- Content may not be sensational or likely to incite panic
- Prices of products related to COVID-19 may not be inflated
- The promotion of certain products related to COVID-19 may be prohibited. We currently prohibit the advertising of facemasks and alcohol hand sanitizers. Please note that other products may be added to this list and enforcement can be retroactive.
- The mention of vaccines, treatments and test kits is permitted, only in the form of information, from news publishers which have been exempted under the Political Ads Content policy.
The following will also be allowed:
Public Service Announcements (PSAs) related to COVID-19 from governments & supranational entities (for example, World Health Organisation), as well as trusted partners approved by the Public Policy team. And news related to COVID-19 from media publishers who have been exempted under the Political Ads Content policy.
Twitter's Covid-19 policies and guidance can be found here.
"As the Covid-19 situation evolves, we've been adjusting our enforcement to ensure that we are protecting users while prioritizing critical information. We are looking at ways to support limited Covid-19-related ads from hospitals, medical providers, government entities and non-governmental organisations." - spokesperson for Google