UPDATED, 7:40 PM: After a day that saw a dozen major advertisers put any spending on X/Twitter on hold over antisemitic amplification by Elon Musk, the man himself tweeted a seemingly not-so-subtile dig at those companies.
Promoting X/Twitter’s Premium service, the social media platform owner wrote, “Premium+ also has no ads in your timeline.” Musk then followed with what he may see as a selling point – true or not – for his ad-free service. “Many of the largest advertisers are the greatest oppressors of your right to free speech,” he wrote – as you can see below:
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Premium+ also has no ads in your timeline.
Many of the largest advertisers are the greatest oppressors of your right to free speech. https://t.co/dVkTMaGV2b
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 18, 2023
UPDATED, 6:09 P.M.: Looks like Sony Pictures has pulled the plug for now on any advertising on X/Twitter.
The film studio of the Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation made the decision in the past couple of hours, we hear. In what is a rising tide, Sony is the latest Hollywood and tech company to leave the platform over X owner Elon Musk’s retweet of a distinctly antisemitic post about 48 hours ago. Musk’s promises today of new protections on X against hate speech has drawn some very rare praise from usual foil the Anti-Defamation League, but the moves seem to have done little to nothing to stop the growing corporate boycott.
Here is the most recent list of the media companies confirmed to be pausing their ads on the social media platform so far:
Warner Bros Discovery
The Walt Disney Company
We will update with more of the companies taking their ads and money off the Linda Yaccarino-CEO’d platform … and there will be more.
UPDATED, 5:28 PM: Comcast/NBCUniversal has joined Paramount Global, Warner Bros Discovery, The Walt Disney Company, Apple and Lionsgate in protest over X owner Elon Musk’s amplification of an antisemitic post two days ago. The media companies have confirmed they’re pausing ads on the social media platform for the immediate future.
On November 16, a group of 150-plus Jewish leaders called for large media and digital companies to “pause the”stop funding X through their ad spend,” calling Musk and X a “danger.” The group specifically called on Apple, Google and Disney to take action.
Here is a list of the media companies confirmed to be pausing their ads on the social media platform so far:
Warner Bros Discovery
The Walt Disney Company
UPDATED, 4:46 P.M.: The list of companies suspending their advertising on X/Twitter continues to grow, as Deadline has confirmed that Paramount Global has joined Warner Bros Discovery, The Walt Disney Company, Apple and Lionsgate in protest over X owner Elon Musk’s amplification of an antisemitic post two days ago.
UPDATED, 3:54 PM: Warner Bros Discovery is the latest to suspend its advertising on X/Twitter in the wake of owner Elon Musk’s amplification of an antisemitic post two days ago. The David Zaslav-run company has decided to “pause” its ads for the foreseeable future, a company insider tells Deadline.
IBM also has paused its ads on the platform, and Comcast Xfinity, Oracle and Bravo are reported to have joined the protest but have not returned Deadline’s request for confirmation.
Read more below.
PREVIOUSLY, 1:39 PM: More companies are suspending advertising on X/Twitter in the wake of reports that the site has let spots run next to pro-Nazi content.
Apple has decided to pause advertising on the platform, according to a report from Axios, citing sources at the company. An Apple spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
A spokesperson for Lionsgate also confirmed a Bloomberg report that it, too, was suspending advertising on the platform.
The suspensions come amid furor over X/Twitter owner Elon Musk’s amplification on Wednesday of an antisemitic post.
Media Matters first reported on the advertising of major brands appearing next to the pro-Nazi content. Among those cited were IBM, Apple, Comcast Xfinity, Oracle and Bravo. IBM announced on Thursday that it was freezing its advertising on X/Twitter. Spokespersons for Comcast, Oracle and Bravo did not return requests for comment.
Media Matters, a progressive watchdog group, followed up with a new report that names a larger number of brands whose spots have appeared next to white nationalist content. They include NBCUniversal, the NBA and Amazon.
PREVIOUSLY: The White House has responded to Elon Musk’s amplification of an X/Twitter post earlier this week that promoted an antisemitic conspiracy theory.
“It is unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of antisemitism in American history at any time, let alone one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” said White House spokesman Andrew Bates.
Bates was referring to the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh and the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.
Bates added, “We condemn this abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate in the strongest terms, which runs against our core values as Americans.”
On Wednesday, Musk endorsed an X/Twitter post in which a user wrote, “Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” The post pushed the “great replacement theory,” or the claim that Jewish people want to bring non-white undocumented people into western countries to reduce the influence of whites. The convicted killer in the Tree of Life shootings had embraced that theory.
“You have said the actual truth,” Musk responded.
Musk later tried to clarify his post, singling out the Anti-Defamation League as a group that “unjustly attacks the majority of the West, despite the majority of the West supporting the Jewish people and Israel.”
X/Twitter has been grappling with a Media Matters report that showed major brands have had their advertisements placed next to pro-Nazi content on the platform, even as its CEO, Linda Yaccarino, has tried to promote the social media site as a safe space for sponsors. IBM announced that it was pulling its spots as it investigates the report.
Other brands that were cited in the Media Matters report — including Apple, Oracle, Xfinity and Bravo — have not yet announced their advertising plans. Spokespersons for the brands did not return requests for comment.
The European Commission also has frozen its advertising on the platform. “We have concerns that such content appears, that our content appears in an inappropriate context and thus affects the effectiveness of our communications and our messages,” said spokesperson Johannes Bahrke, per EuroNews.
PREVIOUSLY, Thursday: Elon Musk is once again facing furor over one of his X/Twitter posts, this time when he agreed with a user’s comment that Jews have a “hatred against whites.”
The tweet has put even more attention on X/Twitter, which Musk owns, and the spread of antisemitic posts in the wake of Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
IBM announced that it was suspending advertising on the platform following a Media Matters report showing that major brands had their advertising placed next to posts that promoted the Nazi party.
“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,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to the Financial Times and other outlets.
Media Matters featured other posts that showed ads from Bravo, Oracle and Xfinity next to pro-Nazi and pro-Hitler content.
Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X/Twitter, appeared to be trying some damage control this afternoon, as she posted, “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. 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 has been trying to convince advertisers that X/Twitter is a safe place for them to place their spots. She wrote on Tuesday, “We’re always working to protect the public conversation.”
But Musk’s post on Wednesday amplified a longtime antisemitic trope about the great replacement theory.
A user posted, “Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them. I’m deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest shit now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities that support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much. You want truth said to your face, there it is.”
Musk’s reply was, “You have said the actual truth.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote of Musk’s post, “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.”
Musk later followed up to try to defend his post, writing, “The ADL unjustly attacks the majority of the West, despite the majority of the West supporting the Jewish people and Israel. This is because they cannot, by their own tenets, criticize the minority groups who are their primary threat.” Musk had previously threatened to sue to ADL.
Musk was scheduled to speak at a session on AI at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit today, but was replaced by John Kerry. Organizers said that a schedule change prevented his participation, and that they turned down his offer to speak remotely.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate, in an audit study released this week, reported that, after one week, X/Twitter had failed to take down 196 of 200 posts it reported to the platforms moderators for violating terms of service. The content included posts threatening violence against Muslims, Palestinians, and Jewish people, as well as messages that were blatantly antisemitic and anti-Muslim.
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