SHAFT regulations protect consumers by prohibiting brands from sending content containing sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, or tobacco (CBD--included) to inappropriate audiences. These regulations are industry-wide and affect every SMS platform, including Postscript. While SHAFT content has been heavily regulated in SMS marketing for years, the CTIA tightened its rules surrounding this content in May 2021.
In their Short Code Handbook, the CTIA outlines the types of messages that cannot be delivered via a short code for both legal and ethical reasons. They also note that sent content must be appropriate for the audience to which it is being sent.
CTIA defines the following as banned content:
- Depictions or endorsements of violence
- Inappropriate content
- Profanity or hate speech
- Endorsement of illegal or illicit drugs
Postscript is required to comply with all CTIA and TCPA compliance policies to both mitigate risk and ensure a standard and satisfactory experience for SMS subscribers. As a result, and beginning in May 2021, Postscript can no longer service brands that offer or communicate about sex, hate, firearms, or tobacco (CBD--included) products.
Because SHAFT content is heavily regulated by carriers, brands that sell alcohol and adhere to specific CTIA requirements --including age-verifying both on the website and in the SMS thread (in-thread)-- are able to promote their brand via SMS marketing.
As a carrier-trusted provider, Postscript offers in-thread age verification and is able to service US alcohol brands on the professional and enterprise plans starting in January 2023. If you are a brand that sells alcohol-related products, please see this article to understand how your brand can begin messaging the appropriate subscribers compliantly.
We understand that several states have already, or are moving to, legalize medical and/or recreational cannabis and CBD use. However, Federal Law still prohibits cannabis use. Therefore you cannot send text messages with cannabis or CBD-related content. The carriers have made it clear that they will suspend any short code that sends this content.
If your brand falls under a sex, hate, firearm, or tobacco (CBD--included) category, we understand this may be a disappointment. SMS is a rapidly-changing industry so please know that Postscript is here to serve you as a resource when policies change to re-allow sending.
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