In response to a reported increase in antisemitic speech on Elon Musk's social media platform X, major advertisers are pausing their ad campaigns. Notable companies such as Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount, Sony Pictures, and Lionsgate, as well as tech giants Apple and IBM, have decided to distance themselves from the platform.
Disney, currently gearing up for the release of "Wish" on November 22, has joined the growing list of advertisers suspending their campaigns on X. This decision is particularly significant as Elon Musk had previously acknowledged Disney and Apple as among the platform's largest advertisers, expressing gratitude for their continued support.
Lionsgate has also opted to withdraw its ads from X, coinciding with the release of its Hunger Games prequel in theaters. Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount, Sony Pictures, and Comcast NBCUniversal have followed suit, with the latter being noteworthy due to X CEO Linda Yaccarino's recent departure from the company to join X.
The exodus of advertisers began with IBM, which took action following a report by nonprofit Media Matters for America. The report revealed that X was placing ads for major companies, including Apple, Bravo (NBCUniversal), IBM, Oracle, and Xfinity (Comcast), next to content that promoted Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. IBM promptly suspended all advertising on X, stating, "We have zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination."
In a concerning development for X, both Disney and Apple's decisions to pause their ad buys come on the heels of Elon Musk's controversial post on the platform. Musk's response to a user's comment, perceived by many as antisemitic, sparked criticism and backlash. The White House has condemned the reported proliferation of antisemitic content on X, emphasizing that it goes against core American values.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino, who has been actively working to regain advertisers' trust, defended the company's position on Twitter. She stated that X has consistently advocated for an end to discrimination and antisemitism on its platform. Yaccarino, who joined X earlier this year, has faced challenges in managing the fallout from Musk's public comments.
While Musk envisions X as an "everything app" with diverse services, including dating, live video, and financial transactions, the company heavily relies on advertising revenue. The departure of major advertisers is likely to increase financial pressure on X, highlighting the ongoing challenges the platform faces in addressing and preventing hate speech.
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