Earlier this week, freelance journalist Tyler Coats had an organ-buying service appear on his feed in the form of a promoted tweet. Gizmodo has the details:
The fact that this cropped up in front of his face to begin with is indicative of how badly these ads are targeted in the first place. “Despite my cold, dead heart, I am not in the market for new organs,” Coates later told Gizmodo. Understanding how broken Twitter’s system is requires a bit of context. Since being pressured to juice its promoted content roughly half a decade ago, Twitter’s been, shall we say, “experimenting” with new ways to push that content in front of its user base and milk those eyeballs for profit. At the same time, it’s been gradually limiting the ways advertisers can target the people who might want to see that content in the first place. The result? Weird promoted tweets – about organs or otherwise – flooding people’s feeds.
Though the account running the human organ ads has since been suspended, it looks like the same person created another account under a similar name (which was also suspended). And they will likely just keep going. In a statement to Gizmodo, a Twitter spokesperson said that this particular tweet violated the company’s Unacceptable Business Practices policy and Inappropriate Content policy. “In general we have both humans and machines that review our content for policy compliance,” they added. “And, of course, we’re constantly investing in both our automated and human review processes and systems.”