Science

Pressure on Elon Musk grows as brands leave Twitter

US agribusiness giant General Mills has suspended spending on Twitter ads in another sign of advertisers’ concern over new platform owner Elon Musk’s controversial take on social media content moderation.

“We have suspended ads on Twitter”confirmed Kelsey Roemhildt, spokesperson for General Mills, which includes Cheerios and Häagen-Dazs brands. “We will continue to monitor developments and evaluate our marketing spend”she added.

As of Friday, November 4, 2022, the day after Twitter was acquired by Tesla’s boss, carmaker General Motors said it had temporarily stopped paying for ads on Twitter.

The Wall Street Journal said Thursday that Mondelez International (the maker of Oreo cookies), Pfizer and Audi (Volkswagen) had made similar decisions.

Advertisers, which account for 90% of the platform’s revenue, fear that the liberalization of content moderation rules advocated by Elon Musk will make the platform inhospitable. Most brands choose to avoid being associated with content without consent.

Musk tries to convince

Since Thursday, the libertarian entrepreneur has been trying to calm them down. He wrote them a letter promising that Twitter would not become a platform. “hellish” where everything can be said without consequences”.

He also promised to form a content moderation board and wait a few weeks before potentially re-allowing some banned people like Donald Trump to return to the social network.

But for now, neither advertisers nor many NGOs seem convinced.

A collective of nearly 50 democratic and anti-disinformation associations has sent an open letter to 20 of the biggest advertisers on Twitter, including Coca-Cola, Google and Disney, urging Elon Musk to be threatened with stopping all ads on the platform if he tweaks his project. “aims to undermine brand safety and community standards, including stopping content moderation”.

On Wednesday, Elon Musk asked in a survey of his 113 million followers whether advertisers should “support freedom of speech” Where “politically correct”.

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