A growing exodus of major advertisers from X is deepening the social media platform’s crisis following Elon Musk’s public endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory. The departures highlights the growing concerns among brands about the platform’s content moderation practices and its potential association with hate speech.
The latest wave of advertiser withdrawals began on Friday, November 17, 2023, when Lionsgate, a major Hollywood studio, announced that it was suspending advertising on X. The move came just hours after IBM, Apple, Oracle, NBCUniversal’s Bravo network, and Comcast had all made similar announcements.
These companies cited concerns about their ads appearing alongside pro-Nazi content, hate speech, and Musk’s own tweets endorsing antisemitic conspiracy theories. The European Union (EU) has also announced that it is pausing its advertising on X and other social media platforms, partly due to the surge in hate speech on these platforms.
The advertiser exits is a significant blow to X’s already struggling advertising business. The company’s advertising revenue has been declining in recent months, and the loss of major advertisers could further accelerate this decline.
In addition to the financial impact, the advertiser withdrawals also damage X’s reputation and make it more difficult for the company to attract and retain users. Advertisers are increasingly concerned about being associated with platforms that host hate speech and other harmful content.
Musk has attempted to downplay the exodus of advertisers, claiming that it is merely a temporary blip. However, the departure of so many major brands suggests a deeper level of concern among advertisers.
The crisis at X is a reminder of the challenges facing social media platforms in moderating content and preventing the spread of hate speech. These platforms are constantly under pressure to balance the free flow of information with the need to protect users from harmful content.