Reports say that eight major corporations have withdrawn their advertising from billionaire Elon Musk’s social media site X.
Shortly after left-wing activist group Media Matters claimed that ads were appearing next to antisemitic content on the platform, as well as a post from Musk himself that some interpreted as antisemitic, Apple, Comcast, IBM, Lionsgate, Paramount Global, Sony and Warner Bros. Discovery all pulled advertising from the platform, according to multiple reports.
“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,” an IBM spokesperson told CNBC after Media Matters’ report showed its ads on antisemitic content.
Additionally, many companies have pulled away from X advertising due to alleged antisemitic content, but on Friday Musk posted survey results showing that X had the lowest antisemitic content when compared to TikTok and Instagram.
Walmart was reportedly the last major advertiser to pull out of X, Reuters reported on Friday. “We aren’t advertising on X as we’ve found other platforms to better reach our customers,” a Walmart spokesperson told the outlet.
However, an X spokesman clarified in a statement that Walmart is still using the platform.
“Walmart did not pause because of recent events and has not advertised on X since October, instead the company has just been organically connecting with its community of more than one million people on X,” X’s head of operations Joe Benarroch stated, adding that Walmart is still posting on the platform to its large audience even though it has ceased advertising.
This comes just days after Musk made inflammatory comments to advertisers in an interview at The New York Times’ DealBook summit on Wednesday, according to CNBC.
During the comments, Musk went off on an expletive-laden rant against advertisers who have threatened to pull away from X, describing their actions as extortion, particularly singling out Disney’s Bob Iger, who had spoken earlier at the event.
“By him taking the position he took, we felt that the association with that position, and Elon Musk and X, was not a positive one for us,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said at the summit, in relation to Musk’s post that was construed as antisemitic, according to The Verge.
“Don’t advertise,” Musk said later during the summit. “If somebody is gonna try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go f–k yourself. Go f–k yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.”
X CEO Linda Yaccarino praised Musk’s comments in an internal memo obtained by CNBC and in the memo echoed his objective of making X a free speech platform, even if it costs the company financially.
“Our mission at X is bold: to be an open platform without censorship of thought – one that provides people information and the freedom to make up their own minds,” Yaccarino wrote in the memo. “Our principles do not have a price tag, nor will they be compromised – ever. And no matter how hard they try, we will not be distracted by sideline critics who don’t understand our mission.”
Prior to Musk’s purchase of the platform in October 2022, advertising accounted for about 90% of Twitter’s revenue, according to The New York Times.
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