Op/Ed: URGENT: Study exposes Twitter paid ad policies that allow white nationalist organizing

Photo: Demand Vijaya Gadde, Global Lead for Legal and Policy, ban white nationalists from Twitter.

Twitter is allowing advertisers to target users based on their support for white nationalism and other racist ideologies.

(OAKLAND – February 7, 2020) – A recent test by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) exposed Twitter’s paid ad policies which allow advertisers to target users who have posted or searched racist keywords.1

According to Twitter, targeting users based on sensitive categories such as political affiliation or beliefs, racial or ethnic origin, or religious or philosophical affiliation or beliefs, is against its paid ad policy.2 However, the BBC successfully ran ads targeting audiences using white supremacist key words, even after Twitter claimed it did a policy review to prevent this happening. By allowing paid ads to target users who have posted or searched white supremacist keywords, Twitter is allowing white nationalist movements to grow and organize on its platform which can result in real-life violence against Black users. Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s senior executive responsible for writing and enforcing the rules on Twitter, must enforce stricter rules to stop white nationalist marketing on the platform.

TAKE ACTION NOW: Demand Twitter’s Vijaya Gadde enforce stricter policies and ban white nationalists from the platform. 

Twitter continues to compromise the safety of its Black users by blatantly ignoring the severity of white nationalists on its platform. Last November, Color Of Change and Change the Terms Coalition delivered over 100,000 petition signatures demanding Twitter remove hate speech and white nationalists from the platform. Vijaya Gadde, Head of Twitter Legal and Policy, should use the full extent of her power to protect online users from hate speech and ban white nationalists from the Twitter platform.3

TAKE ACTION NOW: Demand Twitter’s Vijaya Gadde enforce stricter policies and ban white nationalists from his platform.

Until justice is real,

–Brandi, Rashad, Arisha, Evan, Johnny, Jade, Future, Eesha, Samantha, Marcus, FolaSade, Jenette, Cierra and the rest of the Color Of Change team


  1. “Twitter Apologizes for Letting Ads Target Neo-Nazis and Bigots, BBC News, January 16, 2020, https://act.colorofchange.org/go/226535?t=8&akid=40601%2E3506444%2EWjIjuj.
  2. Twitter, “Policies for Keyword Targeting,” Twitter Business website, https://act.colorofchange.org/go/226536?t=10&akid=40601%2E3506444%2EWjIjuj, accessed January 17, 2020.
  3. “Twitter’s Top Lawyer Is Final Word on Blocking Tweets—Even Donald Trump’s,” Bloomberg Technology, January 15, 2020, https://act.colorofchange.org/go/226621?t=12&akid=40601%2E3506444%2EWjIjuj.