X is no longer labeling ads for some users


The paid ads that are served to users appear as organic posts (aka tweets) and show up like non-paid content, right in a user’s feed. Users have reported that the paid ads are displayed as organic posts, or tweets, and appear in their feeds as non-paid content. Paid ads being run through X’s advertiser platform appear in both feeds regardless.

It’s unclear if X, under owner Elon Musk, decided to remove these ad labels or if this is a temporary glitch. It is also not clear when X stopped tagging these ads. Some users say they noticed that ads weren’t being labeled before, but the issue seems to have escalated just in the past week.

Nandini jammi, the co-founder and director of nonprofit adtech

Check My Ads

brought the issue to light after a X user

a screenshot of an unlabeled ad. Soon after, many users posted screenshots of ads that were not labeled. As advertisers struggle to understand how unsafe Twitter is for brands, this could be a huge liability for any brand advertising on Twitter. “An example showing an unlabeled ad on X with menu options denoting that it’s an advertisement.Credit: X screenshotprovided a screenshotThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made it clear multiple times over the years that paid advertisements must be clearly marked as such so as to not mislead consumers to believe they are viewing organic or editorial content. In 2013, the FTC sent a warning

to search engine providers about how ads were not being disclosed clearly on these online platforms. The FTC stated that companies should put text-based labels on each ad.
In an effort to protect consumers, the FTC guidelines were

updated in recent years to require that even celebrities and influencers clearly disclose when a company was paying for a sponsored social media post or video. How to identify an unlabeled ad served on X X users are able to see content from accounts that they don’t follow if a user they do follow reposts the content. It is possible for the platform’s algorithm to push organic posts directly into a user’s “For You”. Users can click or tap the three-dot icon in the upper-right corner of a specific post if they notice a post from an account that they do not follow. If the content was posted organically, the first opinion on menu allows users to follow that account. If the content was organically posted, the first opinion on the menu provides the user with the ability to follow the account.The menu on a paid ad on X without a label.

Credit: https://twitter.com/pwrshark/status/1699863176563626353However, if the post is an ad, this menu provides additional options. If the post is an ad and not a blog post, the first option on the menu will be “Not interested in the ad” followed by the sad face emoji. Other menu options that only appear on ads on X include “Report ad”, “Why this ad?” and “Report ad”. The removal of labels disclosing advertisements on X has been reported on both the web and mobile app versions of the platform. In addition, the removal of labels disclosing advertisements on X has been reported on both the web and mobile app versions of the platform.The lack of disclosure on X ads has been reported on the web version of the platform too.

Credit: https://twitter.com/WildScreaminBit/status/1699556564607070590

To be clear, these aren’t third-party ads like the previously mentioned sponsored posts from celebrities and influencers. Unlabeled advertisements are served directly by X through its advertising platform. This means that advertisers pay directly to X for the placement of the ads on the social network. These ads are also marked as advertisements by X internally, hence the additional menus that appear on these posts. Yet X is not running these paid ads with a public label or disclosure to let consumers know.

Ad disclosures on X were already confusing for users

The menu on a paid ad on X without a label.

In July, before some users began noticing the removal of labels altogether, the platform began
experimenting with new ad disclosures

. Twitter has always marked paid advertisements with a “Promoted”, which is clearly visible at the bottom of the tweet. This label can be seen next to the engagement buttons, such as “reply” or “retweet”. X has removed the “Promoted’ label from its paid ads over the last month and replaced it with a smaller, “Ad”, which is displayed in the upper-right corner of each post.

Another example of an unlabeled ad on X.

The lack of disclosure on X ads has been reported on the web version of the platform too.

Credit: X screenshot
It’s also key to point out that the platform treats some video ads differently. Twitter Amplify, an exclusive revenue sharing program for some of the platform’s brand partners, allows video pre-rolls to appear before organic posts. The disclosure label for these video ads appears as an overlay on the bottom of the video ad itself and does not appear on the post.

Mashable attempted to reach out to X, but received the following automated response: “Busy now, please check back later. “