The messaging use cases described below are strictly prohibited on SMS and MMS platforms in the United States and Canada. These guidelines apply to Short Code, Toll-Free, and Long Code messaging under the new A2P 10DLC system. We want to ensure that our messaging services remain compliant with regulations and carrier requirements.
At Twilio, we prioritize compliance and aim to provide clear guidelines to ensure seamless communication while upholding regulatory standards. If you have any questions or need further clarification, our dedicated support team is here to assist you. Feel free to reach out to us for any assistance you may require by submitting a customer support ticket.
For comprehensive details on preventing your Twilio messages from being filtered or blocked, please refer to the guide: How do I prevent my Twilio messages from being filtered (blocked).
Forbidden Use Cases
Certain types of messages are not allowed, and we take these restrictions seriously to maintain a safe and reliable messaging environment for all users. It is essential to refrain from engaging in the following activities listed in the table below. Please note that these forbidden use cases are not only related to the content of the message but the business type itself.
Even if your specific use case is not listed as prohibited, certain message content may still be subject to restrictions. For instance, the use of shared or free public URL shorteners is not permitted and will lead to filtering. Ensure that when using a shortened URL it is company branded.
Forbidden message categories for SMS/MMS in the US/Canada
|High-risk financial services
"Third-party" means originating from any party other than the one which will service the loan.
Examples of third-party loans could include: auto, mortgage, personal, etc.
First party loan content is acceptable if it is not promotional messaging, unless it is on an approved Short Code.
Businesses that solely operate in stocks, investing, or cryptocurrency are only permitted to send SMS traffic outside of 2FA and/or transactional messaging. If there is a mixed use case where that is a partial aspect of the business it may be approved based on the other use case content.
|Third-party lead generation services and marketing
Any third-party use cases are strictly forbidden. Consent must be obtained directly from end-users.
Political use case customers sending SMS messages are not able to use voter registration databases to collect consent and outreach end-users.
|Debt collection or forgiveness
"Third-party" means originating from any party other than the one who is owed the debt. For example, a hospital could send messages regarding bills for its own patients, assuming they provided opt-in to receive that messaging.
While third party debt collection is not permitted, a debt collection business that has direct consent from end-users to send related content may do so.
Debt consolidation, debt reduction and credit repair programs are prohibited regardless if there is first-party consent.
|“Get rich quick” schemes
Cannabis, CBD, Kratom, or drug paraphernalia product businesses are prohibited from utilizing SMS/MMS messaging on Twilio in the US and Canada, regardless of content. These restrictions apply regardless of the federal or state legality. All use cases for these are disallowed from sending SMS whether it contains cannabis content or not, even for 2FA purposes it is not permissible for such entities.
|Offers for drugs that cannot be sold over-the-counter in the US/Canada are forbidden regardless if the business is a licensed professional.
Gambling traffic is prohibited in the US and Canada on all number types (Toll Free, Short Code, Long Code).
Sweepstakes are allowed on Short Code but need to go through a special review.
Bingo related messages are allowed on an approved Short Code. Community or local based Bingo related messaging are also permissible on carrier networks.
|"S.H.A.F.T." use cases and electronic smoking devices
Alcohol traffic is allowed on Toll Free, Short Code, and Long Code in the US, as long as proper age gating procedures are in place. Age gating means that website users must input their date of birth. It cannot be a yes or no question.
Firearms, Tobacco, Vape, and E-cigarettes are not allowed on Toll Free, Short Code, or Long Code regardless of age gating. Gun advocacy groups/messaging does not fall under Firearms.
All age-gated content into Canada must be blocked across Toll Free, Short Code, and Long Code. The only way to send age-gated traffic into Canada (even with proper age-gating) is to receive a special carrier exemption. Allowed age gated content in Canada include: pocket knives, lighters, and non-alcoholic beverages
My use case is listed as forbidden. What can I do?
If your use case is listed above as forbidden for SMS and MMS messaging in the US, you may be able to use another Twilio product to reach your recipients.
The Twilio Sendgrid Email API is an option for many of the above use cases. For example, cannabis- or CBD-related messaging may be conducted via email, as long as you have proper age gating (requiring a date of birth from website users) in place and are sending toward recipients in a locale where the substance is legal. In addition, the Twilio Programmable Voice product is not subject to the same carrier restrictions as SMS.
For more information about cannabis-related messaging alternatives, see Can I send cannabis or CBD-related messaging traffic on Twilio?
To learn more about how your use case could work on Twilio, talk to Sales.
Updated August 21st, 2023