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Illegal Twitter Ads Are Uglying Up SF Sidewalks

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Twitter’s CEO is not only suing San Francisco, the city that gave them a $70 million tax break, Twitter the company has also spray-painted ugly, obnoxious, and illegal ads all over San Francisco sidewalks. Acting on a tip from a sharp-eyed reader, the Broke-Ass I-team found no fewer than eight Twitter advertisements plastered onto Union Square and Tenderloin sidewalks, and we’ve confirmed with the San Francisco Department of Public Works that these are not sanctioned or legal.

“These ads are not sanctioned,” DPW spokesperson Rachel Gordon said in an email to “Our sidewalks are not to be used for billboards. 

“Our street cleaning and street inspection teams have been made aware of these illegal advertisements,” she continued. “If it becomes necessary for us to remove them we will be sending a bill to the offender.”

We first became aware of the issue when Twitter user OneCharlieGray spotted the sidewalk ad above at Mason and Turk Streets. We then found seven more of these ads within a four-block radius.

How do we know Twitter is responsible for these dreadful and illegal ads? Because they announced it in a press release. “Hello! Wanted to share that Twitter just launched a new campaign, in which we took over 100 real Tweets from real people, and plastered them all over NYC and SF!,” the company said in a Sept. 9 release. 

“The campaign will take over 100 organic/real Tweets from real people that describe what Twitter is to them, and showcase them across both cities in subway stations, as billboard murals, and via street chalk stencils,” the release says.

But that shit is not “street chalk,” at least, not the kind that comes right off. It sure looks to us like spray paint. The Chronicle describes it as “a spray-paint-like chalk.”  

It’s not the first time some asshole tech company has marked up the sidewalks with their cheap-ass, illegal self-promotion. Lyft pulled this shit in 2015, an ad firm called DDB Worldwide did it last year, and famous assholes Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga have also disgraced our fair sidewalks with spray-painted ads.

These ads are part of a larger, legitimate, and legal campaign that is seen “taking over” Powell Street station above. But that take-over campaign does not give them permission to put the ads on sidewalks too, and a company that’s supposedly worth $25 billion does not need to vandalize our sidewalks for free advertising.

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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.

1 Comment

  1. bizzle
    April 20, 2020 at 7:22 am

    man, fuck these people!!! is ANYBODY going to hold them to ANY standard AT ALL? My small-business ass is getting held for ransom by the CDTFA while these jerks get a 70 MILLION DOLLAR BREAK while helping ruin the fabric of our society. NICE ONE SF