Elon Musk says that activist groups pressuring Twitter advertisers have caused the social media giant to see a “massive drop in revenue.”
“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 tweeted Friday. “Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”
A group of more than 40 organizations, including the NAACP and GLAAD, has sent an open letter calling on Twitter’s top 20 largest advertisers to cease advertising on the platform if Musk rolls back its current content-moderation practices.
The letter argues that within 24 hours of Musk taking ownership of Twitter, the platform was “inundated with hate and disinformation.”
“We know that brand safety is of the utmost importance to you,” the letter states. “As such, you also have a moral and civic obligation to take a stand against the degradation of one of the world’s most influential communications platforms, and to hold Musk to the pledge he made to you to ensure that Twitter is a welcoming and civil place for everyone.”
The letter is addressed to the chief executives of Amazon, Anheuser-Busch, Apple, Capital One, CBS, CenturyLink, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Best Buy, Disney, Google, HBO, IBM, Merck, Meta, Mondelez International, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Verizon.
|COF||CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL CORP.||102.53||+3.71||+3.75%|
|KO||THE COCA-COLA CO.||59.26||+0.48||+0.82%|
|BBY||BEST BUY CO. INC.||68.20||+1.13||+1.68%|
|DIS||THE WALT DISNEY CO.||99.58||+0.38||+0.38%|
|WBD||WARNER BROS. DISCOVERY INC.||10.43||-1.54||-12.87%|
|IBM||INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP.||136.96||+2.49||+1.85%|
|MRK||MERCK & CO. INC.||99.20||+0.51||+0.52%|
|META||META PLATFORMS INC.||90.79||+1.88||+2.11%|
|MDLZ||MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL INC.||63.22||+1.22||+1.97%|
|PG||PROCTER & GAMBLE CO.||134.44||+2.41||+1.83%|
|VZ||VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC.||37.24||+0.09||+0.24%|
A spokesperson for HBO told FOX Business it would be “assessing the platform under its new leadership and determine appropriate next steps.” Representatives for the other companies did not immediately return FOX Business’ request for comment.
Musk has previously pledged in a letter to advertisers that Twitter would be “welcoming to all” and not become a “free-for-all hellscape.”
“Fundamentally, Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise,” he added.
He also told the World Federation of Advertisers’ Global Alliance for Responsible Media that Twitter’s “commitment to brand safety is unchanged.”
In addition, the billionaire said Twitter would form a content moderation council with “widely divergent viewpoints,” including representatives from the civil rights community and groups who face hate-fueled violence.
“Twitter will not allow anyone who was de-platformed for violating Twitter rules back on platform until we have a clear process for doing so, which will take at least a few more weeks,” Musk tweeted Wednesday.
On Monday, Twitter head of safety and integrity Yoel Roth tweeted that the company has been focused on “addressing the surge in hateful conduct” on the platform
Between Oct. 29 and Oct. 31, over 1,500 accounts engaging in hateful conduct were removed from Twitter, with impressions on their content reduced to nearly zero, according to Roth.
“We’re changing how we enforce these policies, but not the policies themselves, to address the gaps here,” Roth added. “You’ll hear more from me and our teams in the days to come as we make progress.”
In addition to the letter, advertising firm Interpublic Group of Companies has advised clients of its Media Brands buying arm to temporarily suspend paid advertising on Twitter for at least a week to wait for more clarity on its plans for trust and safety, according to a source familiar with the matter.
|IPG||INTERPUBLIC GROUP OF COS. INC.||29.50||+0.76||+2.64%|
The Wall Street Journal reported that ad agency Havas Media Group has also made a similar recommendation to its clients to temporarily pause advertising. In addition, GroupM told the Journal that about a dozen of its clients have said they would stop advertising on Twitter if former President Donald Trump were to make a return to the platform.
A spokesperson for GroupM told FOX Business that its clients are “continuing to evaluate their posture based on real-time developments” but declined to comment further. Representatives for IPG and Havas Media did not immediately return FOX Business’ requests for comment.
|GM||GENERAL MOTORS CO.||39.00||+0.49||+1.27%|
|GIS||GENERAL MILLS INC.||79.06||+0.15||+0.19%|
Meanwhile, representatives for General Motors, Volkswagen’s Audi and General Mills confirmed to FOX Business that they have temporarily paused paid advertising on Twitter and will continue to evaluate the situation.
Twitter reported total revenue of $1.18 billion in the second quarter of 2022, with advertising revenue accounting for $1.08 billion.