Advertisers begin withdrawing from Elon Musk's X over antisemitism concerns

Advertisers begin withdrawing from Elon Musk's X over antisemitism concerns

A number of advertisers are fleeing social media platform X - formerly Twitter - over concerns about their ads showing up next to pro-Nazi content and hate speech on the site.

Billionaire owner Elon Musk has also inflamed tensions with his own posts endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

IBM said this week that it stopped advertising on X after a report said its ads were appearing alongside material praising Nazis - a fresh setback as the platform tries to win back big brands and their ad revenue, X's main source of income.

The liberal advocacy group Media Matters has reported that ads from Apple, Oracle, NBCUniversal's Bravo network and Comcast also were placed next to antisemitic material on X.

“IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation," the company said in a statement.

'You have the actual truth'

The European Union's executive branch also said it is pausing advertising on X and other social media platforms, in part because of a surge in hate speech.

Later in the day, Disney, Lionsgate, and Paramount Global also said they were suspending or pausing advertising on X.

Musk sparked outcry this week with his own tweets responding to a user who accused Jews of hating white people and professing indifference to antisemitism. “You have said the actual truth,” Musk tweeted.

Musk has faced accusations of tolerating antisemitic messages on the platform since purchasing it last year, and the content on X has gained increased scrutiny since the war between Israel and Hamas began.

"We condemn this abhorrent promotion of Antisemitic and racist hate in the strongest terms, which runs against our core values as Americans," White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said Friday in response to Musk's tweet.

X CEO Linda Yaccarino said X's “point of view has always been very clear that discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board".

"I think that’s something we can and should all agree on," she tweeted Thursday.

Combatting antisemitism

Yaccarino, a former NBCUniversal executive, was hired by Musk to rebuild ties with advertisers who fled after he took over, concerned that his easing of content restrictions was allowing hateful and toxic speech to flourish and that would harm their brands.

"When it comes to this platform - X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination. There’s no place for it anywhere in the world - it’s ugly and wrong. Full stop," Yaccarino said.

The accounts that Media Matters found posting antisemitic material will no longer be monetisable and the specific posts will be labelled "sensitive media," according to a statement from X. Still, Musk decried Media Matters as "an evil organisation".

The head of the Anti-Defamation League also hit back at Musk's tweets this week, in the latest clash between the prominent Jewish civil-rights organisation and the billionaire businessman.

"At a time when antisemitism is exploding in America and surging around the world, it is indisputably dangerous to use one’s influence to validate and promote antisemitic theories," ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said on X.