The world’s richest man, who said he bought the company for $44 billion in order to reserve a corner of the public square for open dialogue and free expression, induced leftist ire after he officially took over the platform last week. Musk said that a number of advertisers have ended their relationships with the company over the past several days, dealing a significant blow to the business.
“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” Musk remarked on the platform. “Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”
Indeed, a number of leftist-aligned organizations, including Media Matters for America, the NAACP, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, recently wrote a letter to the executives of major advertisers, calling on them to “cease all advertising” if Musk backs down from content moderation.
“Not only are extremists celebrating Musk’s takeover of Twitter, they are seeing it as a new opportunity to post the most abusive, harassing, and racist language and imagery,” the organizations alleged. “This includes clear threats of violence against people with whom they disagree. Without deliberate efforts by Twitter to address this type of abuse and hate, your brands will be actively supporting accelerating extremism.”
A number of large corporations, including Pfizer, Volkswagen, Mondelez International, and General Mills, have temporarily paused their Twitter advertising, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, while legacy car manufacturers GM and Ford were among the first companies to freeze advertisements on the platform, according to another report from Forbes. Both firms are entering the electric vehicle space against two-decade-old market leader Tesla, which is presently the world’s most valuable car brand. The former companies have received a number of special favors from President Joe Biden, who has also snubbed Tesla.
Musk originally told advertisers that he acquired Twitter in order to “have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.” He clarified that the social media platform will not become a “free-for-all hellscape” where users can breach the law with impunity. “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society,” the entrepreneur added.
Americans with conservative viewpoints have faced censorship from the nation’s major institutions, from government entities to technology conglomerates, as Musk himself recently acknowledged. Libs of TikTok, a popular account that reposts videos from radical Left-wing activists, was locked out of Twitter three months ago for a “hateful conduct” warning. Allie Beth Stuckey, a commentator and podcast host, was suspended from Twitter on two separate occasions, once for saying that a transgender Olympic weightlifting competitor is “still a man,” and again for denouncing a Fox News segment that highlighted a family who claimed their child was transgender.