This recent spate of anti-Semitic content about X, and the juxtaposition of big brand ads alongside it, only underscores to advertisers that X is a risky bet, experts argue. “Even with those tools, if you’re an advertiser right now, you’re thinking there’s literally nothing I can do on this platform to improve my experience,” Carusone says.
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“Brand safety concerns for advertisers are not just about content, but about platform and leadership.” Enberg maintains that Musk has treated the company as something he could remake in his own image, without understanding that “what he wants and what he apparently believes is not necessarily aligned with what the platform’s users and advertisers want and believe.”
Under Musk’s leadership, X is expected to experience an unprecedented experience. 54 percent drop in advertising revenue, which previously represented more than 90 percent of the company’s total.
Even before Musk took over what was then Twitter, worried experts his particular brand of free speech absolutism would lead to an avalanche of trolls and hate speech on the platform. In his first weeks as owner, Musk fired Almost everyone who works in trust and safety, the teams responsible for ensuring that hate speech, violence and inappropriate content stays off the platform (and hate speech, in fact, increase under the leadership of Musk). Musk’s lax approach to content moderation also almost got him the platform forbidden during the 2022 presidential runoff in Brazil, the platform’s third largest market.
In response, advertisers began to flee, concerned about the brand safety risks of their products that appear alongside hateful or inflammatory posts. Since he joined X as CEO earlier this year, Yaccarino, former global advertising leader at NBCUniversal, has apparently been hindered in its ability to attract advertisers through Musk’s decisions. And although X has claimed that he was winning back advertisers, in October study of Media Matters found that X’s 100 largest advertisers were spending 90 percent less than before the Musk acquisition.