Advertisers have fled X, formerly Twitter, in droves in the last 24 hours due to owner Elon Musk endorsing and promoting antisemitic beliefs on the platform.
An X user posted on Wednesday that Jewish communities have pushed “diabolical hatred against whites,” a neo-Nazi talking point. Musk replied, “You have said the actual truth.” About an hour later, he tried to claim he was only criticizing the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish nonprofit Musk has threatened to sue for monitoring hate speech on X.
The next day, a report published by Media Matters found that X has been placing ads for brands including Apple, Bravo, IBM, Oracle, and Xfinity next to posts that promote Hitler and Nazi beliefs.
The floodgates opened soon after. IBM announced Thursday evening that it had paused advertising on X in light of the Media Matters report. The next morning, the European Commission said it had frozen ads on X.
“We have seen an alarming increase in disinformation and hate speech on several social media platforms in recent weeks, and X is certainly quite effective of that,” European Commission spokesperson Johannes Bahrke said at a Friday press conference. “We have therefore advised services to refrain from advertising at this stage on concerned social media platforms.”
Musk has owned X for little more than a year, and this is now the second time he has sent advertisers running. Hundreds of companies pulled ads from X when Musk first took over, promising to restore free speech to the platform.
Instead, hate speech has flourished during his reign. The social media research group National Contagion Research Institute found that in the 12 hours after Musk bought X, use of the n-word increased almost 500 percent.