Restricted SMS message types using Twilio

Twilio provides you with a platform to send and receive SMS messages to phone numbers around the world. However, Twilio may suspend or close your project if you violate their Acceptable Use Policy or Terms of Service.

Twilio’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) describes actions that are not permitted using Twilio. Twilio’s Terms of Service (ToS) describes the agreement between you and Twilio regarding the use of Twilio’s website and/or services.

Below is a list of highlights from the AUP of what practices are not allowed when sending and receiving SMS messages using Twilio. Please note that the following restrictions apply to the owner of the Twilio project and to all users of your application.

Please note: these guidelines do not replace nor cover all prohibited activities as covered by the Twilio General Terms & Conditions, Twilio Acceptable Use Policy or full Twilio Terms of Service.

Your Twilio subaccounts will be suspended due to non-compliant activities:

  • High Error Rate

  • High Opt-Out rates

High Error Rate

A high error rate can be driven by one error code or by the sum of several collectively. (see the Error and Warning Dictionary for a full list of all possible Twilio REST API error codes).

High Opt-Out Rate

A high opt-out rate is an indication of unwanted/unsolicited messaging.

Your targeted audience must be aware of what they are signing up for and your website/form must clearly state how their information will be used and they have to provide consent to it accordingly. For example, you can't obtain the consent of message recipients by purchasing a phone list from another party.

Consent / Opt-in:

Prior to sending the first message, you must obtain agreement from the message recipient to communicate with them - this is referred to as "consent", you must make clear to the individual they are agreeing to receive messages of the type you're going to send. You need to keep a record of the consent, such as a copy of the document or form that the message recipient signed, or a timestamp of when the customer completed a sign-up flow. Consent can't be bought, sold, or exchanged. For example, you can't obtain the consent of message recipients by purchasing a phone list from another party.

Lack of Sender Identification

Every message you send must clearly identify you (the party that obtained the opt-in from the recipient) as the sender, except in follow-up messages of an ongoing conversation. Such that the message recipient can immediately associate where/whom they have given consent to.

Lack of Opt-Out Language

The initial message that you send to an individual needs to include the following language: "Reply STOP to unsubscribe," or the equivalent using another standard opt-out keyword, such as STOPALL, UNSUBSCRIBE, CANCEL, END, and QUIT.

Same or similar message sent across a large number of phone numbers. We do not permit spreading similar or identical messages across many phone numbers without appropriate business justification.

As a result, we have restricted your ability to provision additional phone numbers. If you attempt to recycle phone numbers and further provision additional phone numbers, you will see an error message due to this restriction.

To appeal this decision, please respond to this email with the justification of your business use case requiring the same or similar messages across additional phone numbers.

Examples of message violations:

1. Hello, my name is Crystelle, and I'm seeking to buy a few houses in the area. If you're interested, I'd like to make you an offer on 984 Michael Cv. Is there a price range at which you'd consider selling?

2. Hello Zina. Do you own of1768 Woodtree Cir? Really wanna talk about it if you have time.

Your Key Messaging Metrics

Your messaging activity reflects consumer impacting and/or policy-violating content being sent. Your opt-out and error rates have reached higher than acceptable levels.

A good opt-out rate is typically in the range of 0—0.3%

A good error rate is typically in the range of 0—6%


The following behaviors are not permitted on Twilio:

Sending unsolicited messages

No one likes SPAM. You should only send SMS messages to recipients who have opted in to your service and are expecting communication from you. Twilio actively monitors for this kind of activity and we may block the phone number or suspend your project if we receive complaints from your subscribers.

Sending mass marketing or bulk messaging using Twilio long code phone numbers

Mobile carriers do not allow marketing SMS messages, whether solicited or not, to be sent on long codes (10-digit numbers). Marketing messages may only be sent using shortcodes(special 5 or 6-digit numbers).

Mass marketing restrictions vary from country to country. Twilio does not support mass marketing on US or international phone numbers.

Avoid using excessive amounts the following: ALL CAPS, !!!!!!, or lot's of emojis in your messages.

We also recommend if sending a mass SMS message, you send these out in "drip mode" and schedule them to send no more than 15-20 at a time and repeat no less than 1 hour.

Sending harassing or abusive messages

Sending threats, unwanted messages and “SMS-bombing” – sending many messages to a single number without the recipient’s permission – are not allowed on Twilio. You are responsible for ensuring that the users of your application do not send harassing or abusive messages.

Sending any type of message that is reminiscent of illegal activity

You cannot refer to criminal activity, which is not limited to the following:

  • THC or CBD mentions

  • Any criminal activity of any type

Using Twilio numbers to provide emergency services, such as 911-types of communication

Inbound and outbound communications between emergency service providers and end users are explicitly not permitted on Twilio numbers. SMS notifications can be used to provide information during an emergency, but should not be used as a replacement for or a means to contacting actual emergency services.

It is acceptable to use Twilio to send notifications that do not directly impact life safety. For example, early warning alerts, safety advisories, event cancellations, etc. are allowed. We recommend building in redundancy for important applications and using Twilio’s notifications in conjunction with other public warning systems like sirens, radio and TV broadcasts if applicable.

Engaging in fraud, phishing or sending of sensitive data

Twilio takes fraud and abuse very seriously. Report it here.

Sending messages with fraudulent information or phishing to request confidential information from subscribers is not allowed. It’s also never a good idea to provide financial information or any other sensitive personal information to your customers over SMS.

Misrepresenting your identity (no spoofing)

Spoofing the SenderID or otherwise attempting to mislead message recipients as to who is sending the SMS message is not allowed. It’s good business sense to identify your brand or name in each message you send. But it’s not ok to identify yourself as another individual or business.

Sending messages with pornographic or objectionable images

Do not send pictures that promote or potentially further any illegal activity or violate any legal or federal legislations or are likely to cause offense to recipients. These include but are not limited to pornographic or objectionable images.

Sending marketing type messages to minors under 14 years of age

By law, you are not allowed to market to minors under the age of 14 years old, which includes sending SMS messaging of any type.

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