As one of the primary players in the SMS Marketing space, we at Emotive place high importance on ensuring our platform complies with the policies laid out by TCPA, CTIA and carriers as they pertain SMS & MMS Messaging.

Carriers are continuing to heavily crack down on traffic pertaining to S.H.A.F.T (sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, tobacco) content and other Forbidden categories.

We have put together this simple playbook below to help you understand what messaging content is allowed by the carriers, and what is not allowed

This is how we ensure our platform handles the traffic that is compliant with TCPA, CTIA and other Carrier Messaging Policies, and that your traffic is residing on a platform that emphasizes security, and compliance with applicable laws, communications industry guidelines or standards, and measures of fairness and decency.

What is the guidance on how to setup age-gating?

In the US, the age gate must either be in the SMS flow or included in the opt in method. They must reply back as part of the text reply that they are of the right age. The URL re-directs must also include age-gating. Age verification must always be robust. This means users must enter their full birth date.

Allowed vs. Forbidden Content


✅ What is Allowed?

🚫 What is NOT Allowed

Best Practices/Notes


✅ Sex toys - as long as proper age gating procedures are in place

✅ Lingerie - as long as proper age gating procedures are in place

🚫 Sexually explicit content

Age-Gating Required


🚫 Racist content anywhere on the site

🚫 Any oppressive content


✅ Allowed on Long Code & Short Codes, as long as proper age gating procedures are in place

🚫 Not Allowed on Toll-Free

Age-Gating Required

Fire Arms

✅ Gun Holsters 

✅ Guns

✅ Gun Holsters

✅ Gun Accessories (ammo)

Age-Gating Required


✅ Hemp is allowed as it is legal in all 50 states
✅ Paraphernalia - related to e-cig and other legal substances is allowed w/ age-gating
✅ Hookah related to legal substances is allowed w/age-gating

🚫 CBD/Cannabis Related Vaping, Paraphernalia, Hookahs

🚫 Kratom

🚫 CBD/Cannabis

🚫 Pet CBD/Cannabis
🚫 Vaping related to e-cigarettes and tobaccos is NOT allowed

We recommend that our customers DON'T reference the word hemp, as the filters the carriers are AI-driven & cannot make determinations as well as humans. Hence, hemp could potentially be flagged as another way to say cannabis, etc.

Gambling (Casino apps • Gambling websites)

✅ Allowed on Short Code, or Long Code, as long as proper age gating procedures are in place

🚫 Gambling traffic is prohibited on Toll Free

Age-Gating Required

Illegal Substances

✅ Cannabis Allowed in Canada, with proper age-gating prior to opt-in, and the URL redirects must also include age-gating

🚫 Cannabis (United States)

🚫 CBD (United States)

🚫 Prescription drugs

Cannabis is federally ILLEGAL in the United States. Cannabis businesses will not be permitted to use SMS/MMS messaging in the US, regardless of message content. CBD is federally legal, but is not legal in some US states, so US carriers do not permit messaging related to CBD. Offers for drugs that cannot be sold over-the-counter in the US/Canada are forbidden

Debt collection of forgiveness

✅ For example, a hospital could send messages regarding bills for its own patients, assuming they provided opt-in to receive that messaging

🚫 Third-party debt collection

🚫 Debt consolidation

🚫 Debt reduction

🚫 Credit repair programs

“Third-party” means originating from any party other than the one who is owed the debt

Age-Gating Required

Third-party lead generation services

🚫 Companies that buy, sell, or share consumer information

High-risk financial services

✅ Allowed from the party that will service the loan

🚫 Payday loans

🚫 Short term high-interest loans

🚫 Third-party auto loans

🚫 Third-party mortgage loans

🚫 Student loans

🚫 Cryptocurrency

“Third-party” means originating from any party other than the one which will service the loan

“Get rich quick” schemes

✅ Outreach about employment as a result of compliant opt-in practices, messages from brokerages to their members, investment news alerts, or other investment-related messages

🚫 Work-from-home programs

🚫 Risk investment opportunities

🚫 Pyramid schemes

Have questions? Email us at or reach out to your Account Executive/Customer Success Manager.