UPDATED: 11:00 a.m. ET, Nov. 4, 2022,
Originally published on Nov. 2
Elon Musk and Twitter could have a serious advertising problem.
According to CNN Business, Audi and General Mills have confirmed they will be pausing advertising on Twitter after Elon acquired the social media platform on Oct. 28.
The announcement to halt advertising dollars comes just days after it was reported that in the 12 hours after Musk acquired Twitter, the use of the N-word surged 500%.
Kelsey Roemhildt, a spokesperson for General Mills, told CNN the company is paying close attention to the new direction of the platform.
“We have paused advertising on Twitter. As always, we will continue to monitor this new direction and evaluate our marketing spend,” said Roemhildt.
Audi also released a statement saying, “We have currently paused paid support on Twitter and will continue to evaluate the situation.”
Audi and General Mills may not be the only major companies that are looking to take a step back from Elon’s vision for Twitter.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Pfizer and Mondalez could also be pausing their ads, although the companies haven’t publicly commented as of yet. General Motors and Toyota have also stated that they are evaluating the platform’s “new direction,” and are “in discussions with key stakeholders and monitoring the situation.”
Interpublic Group, a major player in the advertising space, has also recommended to its clients to pause advertising on Twitter.
Whether you like Elon Musk or not, his presence at Twitter is causing much uncertainty.
This week an open letter was sent to the advertisers on Twitter demanding they take action after bigotry, racism, and disinformation exploded on the platform.
In the letter, activists called out the parallels between Musk’s purchase of twitter and the racist trolls who used it as an opportunity to spread their hate.
“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 letter read.
“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.”
“Elon now controls Twitter. Unleash the racial slurs. K—S AND N—–S,” said one user who also used slurs for Jewish and Black people. “I can freely express how much I hate n—–s … now, thank you elon,” another said.
The organizations behind the open letter also called on advertisers to stop Musk from making major changes to the brand safety and community standards, which have for years banned many forms of hate speech.
“We, the undersigned organizations, call on you to notify Musk and publicly commit that you will cease all advertising on Twitter globally if he follows through on his plans to undermine brand safety and community standards including gutting content moderation,” read the letter. “This means that Musk must not roll back the basic moderation practices Twitter already has on the books now and must commit to actually enforcing those rules.”
Lebron James also took to social to express his concerns about the uptick in racism on Twitter.
“I hope [Musk] and his people take this very seriously because this is scary AF,” James tweeted. “So many damn unfit people saying hate speech is free speech.”
Below is the list of advertisers mentioned in the letter:
- Apple Inc.
- Capital One Financial Corporation
- Coca-Cola Company
- Comcast Corporation
- Best Buy Co. Inc
- Home Box Office, Inc. (HBO)
- IBM, Merck & Co.
- Meta Platforms, Inc.
- Mondelez International
- PepsiCo, Inc.
- Procter & Gamble
- Unilever and Verizon