Twitter faces an advertiser desertion campaign after Elon Musk’s acquisition

While Elon Musk is looking for new ways to make money from Twitter, he is faced with the problem of advertisers escaping from the platform, as the tech billionaire confirmed that Twitter has seen a massive decline in revenue; Because of advertisers’ concerns about content modification and other issues raised by activists.

A number of big companies have paused ads in recent days, including GM, Audi, Pfizer, General Mills, Volkswagen and other big names who are wary of potential changes to Twitter’s policies as well as the departure of top CEOs.

Industry groups have also expressed concern about brand safety under Musk, and the New York Times reported this week that “IPG, one of the world’s largest advertising companies, has issued a recommendation to customers to pause their Twitter spending.” As quoted by Engadget.

On Friday, the NAACP joined other civil rights groups in calling for advertisers to boycott the platform.

“It is unethical, dangerous, and deeply destructive to our democracy for any advertiser to fund a platform that fuels hate speech, election denial and conspiracy theories,” NAACP President Derek Johnson said in a statement.

Advertisers pulling out amid calls for an ad boycott shows how quickly Twitter’s advertising business has deteriorated under Musk.

It also comes nearly a week after Musk tried to reassure the industry that he did not want to turn the platform into a “free-for-all hell place”.

Twitter saw a spike in hate speech and racist slurs immediately after news of Musk’s takeover of the company, Engadget reports.

Twitter’s head of safety later blamed this activity on a coordinated phishing campaign. But the activism has raised concerns among civil rights groups, prompting Musk to meet with civil rights leaders this week.

On Friday, he appeared to blame many of the same activists for lower advertising revenue.

He wrote on Twitter: “Twitter has seen a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressure on advertisers, although nothing has changed with the content modification and we have done everything we can to keep activists happy.”

But a coalition of civil rights groups and activists rejected Musk’s characterization.

During a call with reporters Friday, they said Musk’s mass layoffs of Twitter employees, including people who work in moderation and safety, undermine the commitments he made after their meeting.

“When you lay off nearly 50% of your employees, including the teams responsible for tracking, monitoring and enforcing content moderation rules, that necessarily means that content moderation has changed,” said Jessica Gonzalez, Co-CEO of Free Press.

The group also raised concerns about Musk exaggerating far-right plots regarding the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.

It also cited reports that the current CEO may scrap existing Twitter rules that protect transgender users. “If Twitter doesn’t take immediate concrete action that demonstrates a real commitment to upholding best practices that protect users from businesses, we won’t support businesses with advertising dollars and see that happen in real time,” said Sarah Ellis, CEO of GLAAD.

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