100+ brands have followed Apple’s example in ceasing ads on X

More than 100 brands have now ceased ads on X over antisemitic content allowed to propagate on the social network. They are following the example of companies like Apple and Disney, which made the decision early last week.

X itself had estimated that the financial hit could be around $11M, but the company’s own internal documents reveal that the total loss could be as high as $75M …

What’s this all about?

If you believe X owner Elon Musk, then the fallout is due to a test carried out by Media Matters which showed that the ads of major brands like Apple and Disney were being shown alongside extremist hate speech, including antisemitic content.

Musk contends that the data is “fraudulent” and promptly instigated a lawsuit against the publication – while TechCrunch argued that even the lawsuit contains within it an admission that the findings were accurate, albeit on a very small scale.

But this isn’t the whole of it. Many of the brands who have suspended advertising on X say they were more concerned about the behavior of Musk himself, who responded to an antisemitic post with the comment: “You have said the actual truth.” That comment remains on the platform almost two weeks later, with no sign of a withdrawal or apology.

Musk has in the past threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League after the organization highlighted racist content on X.

More than 100 brands have ceased ads on X

Initially, a relatively small number of brands were reported to have suspended advertising on X, the main ones named being Apple, Discovery, Disney, IBM, Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Brothers. X’s internal estimates of the lost revenue was said to be $11M.

But a New York Times report says that over 100 brands have now joined the boycott, and that X fears the total hit could reach $75M.

X, the social media company formerly known as Twitter, could lose as much as $75 million in advertising revenue by the end of the year as dozens of major brands pause their marketing campaigns after its owner, Elon Musk, endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory this month.

Internal documents viewed by The New York Times this week show that the company is in a more difficult position than previously known.

In addition to the 100+ brands who have ceased ads altogether, dozens more are said to be considering doing so.

X told the NYT that the numbers in the document “were either outdated or represented an internal exercise to evaluate total risk” – the latter description not appearing to in any way contradict the report.

Some brands have stopped posting on X altogether

A separate CNN report says that some brands are going further than pausing ads: They are ceasing all activity on X.

In recent days, a number of prominent media brands have not only paused their paid marketing campaigns on the embattled Elon Musk-owned social platform, but have ceased posting on it altogether, going silent on the once essential site that sought to be the world’s “digital town square.”

The flagship accounts belonging to Disney, Paramount, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Universal, and Warner Bros. Discovery (CNN’s parent company) have not posted on the platform in roughly 10 days, following Musk’s disturbing endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory, which he still has not apologized for.

Some companies have switched instead to Meta’s Threads.

The blackout on X extends beyond these companies’ corporate accounts, in some cases. For instance, the most high profile accounts affiliated with Disney have gone dark on X, such as @StarWars, @Pixar, and @MarvelStudios, which were previously posting multiple times a day on the platform to their millions of followers. Instead, these brands have switched over to the Meta-owned rival Threads, where they have started actively posting.

For instance, when “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Monday shared the news that host Stephen Colbert would be off the air this week due to appendicitis, the program did so on Threads. 

Photo: Cole Ankney/Unsplash

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