A white smartphone with a blue screen that has the Twitter logo on it - from Unsplash

Back in the day, Twitter was an interesting and fun social media platform. It helped people find new friends, to learn about things happening in the news, and — sometimes — also encouraged people to hold “Twitter Meetups”.

Twitter wasn’t perfect. Few social media sites are. After Jack Dorsey abandoned Twitter, the platform got much worse. Elon Musk begrudgingly purchased Twitter, fired a lot of employees, and changed the name to “X”.

Media Matters reported that IBM announced yesterday that it is suspending its advertising on X (formerly Twitter) after Media Matters reported that the platform placed its ads next to content promoting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

IBM isn’t alone in having issues when advertising on the platform: following our report yesterday, (Media Matters wrote) we additionally found ads for Amazon, NBA Mexico, NBCUniversal Catalyst, Action Network, and Club for Growth next to white nationalist hashtags like “KeepEuropeWhite,” “white pride,” and “WLM” (“White Lives Matter”).

According to Media Matters: “X’s problem with advertising comes as owner Elon Musk praised the pernicious antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jewish communities were supporting ‘hordes of minorities’ who are ‘flooding’ the country to replace white people. Musk’s endorsement is just the latest example of him embracing rhetoric and conspiracy theories from the far-right fringes.”

In short, Elon Musk appears to be embracing and glorifying Nazis on his social media platform. Media Matters posted a list that points out that X’s remaining advertisers are especially affected by hateful rhetoric that seems to be in the form of advertisement purchased by Nazis.

Here is a list of what Media Matters found:

  • Pro-Hitler account: X placed ads for brands including The New York Times Co.’s The Athletic, Major League Baseball, the Atlanta Falcons, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Amazon and Office Depot on a verified pro-Hitler account that encourages antisemitic harassment.
  • Holocaust deniers: X placed ads for brands such as The Wall Street Journal, Nokia, FanDuel, and Thermo Fisher on the accounts of antisemites who have denied the Holocaust.
  • Leading white nationalist group: X placed ads for Dish, Samsung, and The Wall Street Journal on the verified Twitter account of Dare, a leading white nationalist group.
  • Pro-killing of LGBTQ advocates and politicians: X placed ads for MLB, Bayer, Tyson Foods, and eBay on the account of Stew Peters, a white nationalist streamer who uses the social platform to endorse the killings of politicians and LGBTQ advocates.
  • Neo-Nazi group: X placed ads for Honeywell, Discovery, National Women’s Soccer League, the Pittsburg Steelers, USA Today, and Manchester City on the verified account of the Nationalist Socialist Network, a leading neo-Nazi group.
  • Pro-Hitler and Holocaust denier account: X placed ads for major sportsbooks BETMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel on the verified account that has drawn millions of views for posts that lionize Hitler and deny the Holocaust. The account has also said it’s been paid $3,000 this year by X.
  • Antisemitic conspiracy theories about 9/11: X placed ads for the NFL, MLB, T-Mobile, and eBay alongside content pushing unhinged conspiracy theories about Jewish people orchestrating 9/11 attacks.

October 11: NeimanReports posted: “Six Months Ago NPR Left Twitter. The Effects Have Been Negligible”

A lot of people threaten to leave Twitter. Not many of them have actually done it.

This was true even before Elon Musk’s purchase of the platform a year ago. But the parade of calamities since — cutting back on moderation, unplugging severs, reinstating banned accounts, replacing verified check marks with paid subscriptions badges, throttling access to news sites, blaming the Anti-Defamation League for a decline in advertising — has made stepping away more appealing, either because the timeline is toxic or because the site simply doesn’t function the way it used to.

Last April, the company gave NPR a reason to quit — it labeled the network as “U.S. state-affiliated media,” a designation that was at odds with Twitter’s own definition of the term. NPR stopped posting from its account on April 4. A week later, it posted its last update — a series of tweets directing users to NPR’s newsletters, app, and other social media accounts. Many member station across the country, including KUOW in Seattle, LAist in Los Angeles, and Minnesota Public Radio, followed suit.

Six months later, we can see that the effects of leaving Twitter have been neligible. A memo circulated to NPR staff says traffic has dropped by only a single percentage point as a result of leaving Twitter, now officially renamed X, through traffic from the platform was small already and accounted for just under two percent of traffic before the posting stopped…

November 11: The Hollywood Reporter posted: “Disney joins Advertisers In Pausing Spend On X Amid Reported Rise in Antisemitic Speech”

Major advertisers are pausing their ad campaigns on Elon Musk’s social media platform X, including Disney, which has a Wish in the works on its release calendar for Nov. 22. Lionsgate also said it would be pulling ads from the platform, just as its Hunger Games prequel is hitting movie theaters.

Warner Bros. Discovery said Friday evening that it would be pausing its campaigns on the platform. Paramount and Sony Pictures also followed suit in halting spending.

Comcast NBCUniversal was the latest company to pause advertising on the site, which is particularly significant as X CEO Linda Yaccarino left the company to join X…

November 16: FT (Financial Times) Technology News posted on X: “IBM pulls adverts from X after report finding they ran next to Nazi content.”

From FT: IBM said it has pulled its global advertising from Elon Musk’s X following a report that the social media platform ran the tech company’s adverts alongside pro-Nazi material, in a fresh blow to the company’s efforts to bring back sales revenues…

“IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation,” the company said in a statement.

Comcast said it was looking into the matter. Apple and Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to FT, Musk relaxed moderation policies and cut many staff involved with safety on the platform when his $44bn acquisition closed last year. Many brands, wary of being placed next to toxic content, pulled their advertising. Ad revenues fell about 50 per cent, Musk said in July…

November 17: The New York Times posted on X: “Breaking News: Disney, Apple and Lionsgate halted ads on X as Elon Musk faced a furor over his endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory on the social media app, formerly known as Twitter.”

November 17: Axios posted “EXCLUSIVE: Apple to pause advertising on X after Musk backs antisemitic post.”

Axios wrote: Apple is pausing all advertising on X, the Elon Musk-owned social network, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: The move follows Musk’s endorsement of antisemitic conspiracy theories as well as Apple ads reportedly being placed alongside far-right content. Apple has been a major advertiser on the social media site and its pause follows a similar move by IBM…

…Musk posted to X on Wednesday “[you] have the actual truth” in response to an X post that claimed Jewish communities support “dialectical hatred against whites.”

That drew widespread condemnation from the White House. “It is unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of Antisemitism in American history at any time, let alone one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement.

November 17: CNBC posted: “Apple, Disney, other media companies pause advertising on X after Elon Musk boosted antisemitic tweet”

According to CNBC: Apple and Disney have paused online advertising campaigns on X, formerly Twitter, after Elon Musk said he agreed with a social media post accusing “Jewish communities” of pushing “hatred against whites,” according to sources familiar with both companies moves.

Warner Bros Discovery, Paramount Global, and Lions Gate Entertainment are also suspending campaigns on the social media service, spokespeople for the company confirmed. Additionally, a spokesperson for Comcast, which owns Bravo and Xfinity and is also the parent company of CNBC, said Friday that it is pausing its online advertising campaigns on the real-time messaging service…

In my opinion, it appears that Elon Musk’s decision to host content from Nazis on his platform is making his life much harder. Social media websites typically need to have a way to monetize their users so the platform can stay alive, offer interesting new features, and attract new users.

The most interesting thing about various well-known companies pausing advertising right is that they are sending a message. They don’t want to be connected to Nazi content or accounts, and they shouldn’t have to. The result is that some of the largest companies are, effectively, shutting off cash flow to X in what might be a protest to Elon Musk’s terrible choices.

Posted in MediumTagged , ,