Elon Musk

Why Advertisers Are Fleeing Musk's 'X'

Elon Musk

X has rolled out a series of pathetic excuses for why ads for brand-conscious blue chip companies keep appearing alongside antisemitic content on the social media platform once known as Twitter. But they all ignore the obvious and central issue: Its owner, Elon Musk, is a right-wing extremist who has made X a hub for white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Media Matters reported on November 16 that ads for Apple, Bravo (NBCUniversal), IBM, Oracle, and Xfinity (Comcast) were appearing on X next to content that touts Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party. That report followed Musk’s personal endorsement of a post that accused Jewish communities in the U.S. of “dialectical hatred against whites” and blamed them for “flooding their country” with “hordes of minorities” — a recapitulation of the white nationalist “great replacement” conspiracy theory which motivated the 2018 massacre of worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Within hours, IBM announced that it would pull its ads from the platform, saying the company “has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination.” X’s ad sales associates are reportedly worried that other major advertisers will follow.

X’s leaders, who clearly fear that the company’s public association with bigotry threatens its already perilous financial position, are furiously spinning the situation in hopes of containing the fallout.

An anonymous X executive said that its system is not “intentionally placing” particular ads alongside bigoted posts and blamed “Media Matter’s researcher” for “actively looking for this content” in a statement to Axios.

And Musk himself drew attention to a user’s “analysis” that similarly argued “the root cause of X having antisemitic content next to Ads seems to be that X’s automated Ad Adjacency tools aren’t able to determine if the content in images is antisemitic.” That user added, “Media Matters is just scrolling down on user profile of Antisemitic Accounts until they see an ad.” (Musk responded, “Media Matters is an evil organization.”)

Let’s stipulate that Musk and the X executive are correct that X’s ad targeting tool is apparently a piece of garbage that companies can’t count on to keep their advertisements from appearing alongside Holocaust denial, pro-Hitler content, and other bigotry (this is a very strange acknowledgement for them to make publicly!). Let’s also stipulate that Media Matters senior investigative reporter Eric Hananoki is a dazzlingly effective and diligent researcher whose work will absolutely ruin your day.

The “root cause of X having antisemitic content next to Ads” is that there’s a ton of pro-Hitler, Holocaust denial, white nationalist, and neo-Nazi content on X for the ads to appear alongside.

That’s not a coincidence.

Musk rolled out the red carpet for bigots when he took over the platform last year. He has personally reinstated the accounts of white nationalists and neo-Nazis, refused to enforce X’s policies barring antisemitic content, engaged with a bevy of hatemongers on the platform, and apparently paid shared ad revenue to a pro-Hitler account. The entirely predictable result has been an immediate and sustained surge of bigoted content on X, as the worst people on the internet adopted the platform as a safe space to promote their despicable views.

Why is there so much antisemitism on X? Musk’s recent comments suggest the company’s policies are not the result of a principled stance on free speech or a financial necessity, but because Musk himself personally agrees with the hateful rants that bigoted X users churn out. That is certainly the perspective of the white nationalists who responded by praising him for echoing “what we were saying in Charlottesville” and “normalising our ideas.”

Musk himself is the problem. And as long as he is running X, advertisers will find their brands imperiled by his actions, no matter what assurances nominal CEO Linda Yaccarino offers them.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

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In Feud With Apple, Elon Musk Will Only Harm Himself

What do I care about more? Do I care about my iPhone, my iPad, my MacBook and the two Mac desktops — or do I care more about the feed on my Twitter app? Oh, and I forgot to mention my Apple Watch.

Guess the answer.

I used to greatly admire Twitter owner Elon Musk for his championing of electric vehicles. That Tesla (and the rocket company SpaceX) made him the world's richest man was fine with me. No problem here with billionaires who build great things and pay their taxes.

But Musk can't possibly think that he can win his fight against Apple, the world's most valuable company. Even if that were a possibility, he's not going about it the right way. Of course, that's assuming his motive is to indeed win and not just Gorilla-glue his name to the daily headlines.

Let's accept everyone's arguments at face value. In the name of free speech, Musk is opening Twitter to unmoderated bigots, vaccine deniers and other assorted creeps. That's his right. Twitter is his toy to play with or break.

Apple, on the other hand, wants to keep the worst nastiness out of its users' faces. It has thus banned from its App Store sites that do not meet its standards for moderating content. That is Apple's right.

And it's the right of Apple and other big corporations to not advertise on the burning dumpster Twitter is becoming. Apple also has the right to demand a 30% cut from software developers wanting to put their wares on Apple devices — just as Twitter can charge users $8 a month for blue checkmarks.

At the end of the day, what is Musk's weapon, really? A social media app?

"This is a battle for the future of civilization," Musk tweeted grandiosely. "If free speech is lost even in America, tyranny is all that lies ahead."

To which former Rep. Adam Kinzinger tweeted, "It's twitter man. Not WW3."

Musk overpaid $44 billion to buy Twitter. Apple, on the other hand, is worth $2.3 trillion. (The oil giant Saudi Aramco has a market value of $1.9 trillion.)

Investors, meanwhile, have limited patience with CEOs who get distracted from their core business and come off as jerks. Who is taking care of Tesla? And aren't Musk's provocations turning off would-be buyers of his electric cars?

This has been a tough year for many stocks, but for Tesla's, it's been miserable. As of late November, Tesla shares have lost nearly 50 percent of their value. The 2022 return on Apple shares (which includes dividends) was down only 18.31 percent.

Dan Ives, a tech analyst, has called Musk's Twitter fight with Apple "the gift that keeps on giving for the Tesla 'bears,'" investors who bet on the stock price going down.

Apple world tends to be a gentle place. Its inhabitants undoubtedly like the company's moves to protect user privacy. Apple also wins applause for banning misinformation about COVID-19 — something Twitter has just said it would now allow.

By the way, it's simply not true that only liberal social media gets the Apple green light. Anyone who has used Apple products to follow political opinion knows that conservative views are easy to find.

It would appear that all the money in the world couldn't buy Musk a sense of humor. And that's what he's going to need if the day comes that Apple drops Twitter from the App Store and the one billion iPhone owners start forgetting that Twitter ever existed.

Apple sells real stuff, things that need to be recharged. Twitter does not. It's just an app that the delete button can make disappear. Musk really should have stuck with cars.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at

Reprinted with permission from Creators.