IT giant IBM is halting all advertising on Elon Musk’s online platform X (formerly Twitter) after its ads were discovered alongside Nazi posts.
IBM does not tolerate hate speech and is investigating the “completely unacceptable situation,” a spokesperson said Thursday. The IT company wanted to spend about $1 million on X in the last quarter, the New York Times reported, citing internal messages from the platform.
A few hours earlier, the organization Media Matters had shown how advertisements from IBM, Apple and the software company Oracle, among others, appeared on X, along with posts with positive statements about Adolf Hitler and the ideology of the National Socialists.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Companies have little influence on exactly which posts will be placed next to their advertising. Ads are shown more in relation to age target groups, specific areas or user interests. To avoid a negative environment for their brands, advertisers primarily rely on X to consistently keep hate speech off the platform. Other online services have also had similar problems with their advertising clients in the past, for example Google’s YouTube video platform. At that time, it strengthened content oversight to win back advertising clients.
Since Musk bought Twitter a year ago, many companies have become concerned about just that and are staying away from the platform or limiting their spending. Musk has said several times that ad revenue is only about half what it was in the Twitter era. At times he has tried to incite his followers against renegade advertisers. When reports emerged that Apple had cut advertising spending on the platform, Musk visited CEO Tim Cook at his headquarters in Cupertino. X boss Linda Yaccarino, appointed by Musk, promised advertisers a safe environment.
Musk represents the political views of the American right and has accused Twitter’s former leadership of suppressing them. He promised more freedom of speech: all statements that do not violate the law will be allowed. At the same time, his firing actions had a major impact on the Twitter teams that were supposed to ensure the deletion of hate speech.
The owner of X himself caused a new controversy: he supported a post that spread an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. It was said, among other things, that “anti-white hatred” was being spread by Jews. On Wednesday, Musk wrote under the post that it contained the “real truth.” Musk then added that he was referring to “certain groups” such as the Jewish organization Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that “actually spread anti-white racism and anti-Asian racism.” In further statements, Musk reiterated that, in his opinion, there is a problem with anti-white racism.
The head of the ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt, wrote The American Jewish Committee organization also pointed out that the post supported by Musk contained elements of the conspiracy theory that played a role in the attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018. The attacker then killed eleven people.
Musk has more than 160 million followers on X. After previous criticism, he stressed that he has no anti-Semitic views. Yaccarino wrote in X on Thursday that discrimination on all sides must stop.
US investor Ross Gerber raised the question of what consequences Musk’s actions would have for the company he leads Electric machine-The manufacturer Tesla will have. Musk is not acting in the interests of Tesla, Gerber criticized on the CNBC television channel. “He Destroys Everything He Built” and damages the automaker’s reputation. He himself will replace his Tesla Model Y with a vehicle from competitor Rivian next year – “and I’m sure the rest of Los Angeles will do the same.”
Ultimately, IBM shares fell 0.11% in NYSE trading to $152.89.
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