43 Promoted Tweets

Promoted tweets are real tweets, but they do not reach you because they were shared by the people you follow. They reach you because the author of the tweet paid Twitter money to put it in your feed.

Here’s an example of a promoted tweet, asking you to “Tweet your Senators” about the dangers of drug importation:

Promoted tweet from user @SafeMedicine urging us to tweet our senators against our exposure to unsafe medicine. We can tell it’s promoted by the gray text that reads “Promoted” below the “reply,” “retweet,” and “like” functions.
Example of a promoted tweet


Promoted tweets are not necessarily untrue, but they should be treated the way one would treat a commercial. In this case, we look to see what organization has posted the tweet.


Twitter page for user @SafeMedicine, which features its website name, safemedicine.org.
Promoted tweet by Safe Medicines


That leads us to their webpage and organization name: The Partnership for Safe Medicines.

The homepage of safemedicine.org, which reveals the name of the organization, The Partnership for Safe Medicines.
The homepage of safemedicine.org


And a little bit of investigation takes us to a page on the NPR site that shows this organization has ties to Big Pharma:

An article about The Partnership for Safe Medicines on the Northwest Public Radio site titled, “Nonprofit Working to Block Drug Imports Has Ties to Pharma Lobby.”
NPR Website


While none of these means the claims of the organization are wrong or false, it is a worthwhile perspective to have before you decide to retweet the tweet or not. Treat promoted tweets with suspicion. Someone is paying money to influence you, and it’s best to know who before retweeting.


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Web Literacy for College Students 2nd Ed Copyright © 2020 by NSCC and Michael A. Caulfield is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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