In recent days, top media brands have not only paused their paid marketing campaigns on Elon Musk’s social media platform, but they have also completely stopped posting on it.
This sudden silence on a platform that was once considered essential and aimed to be the “digital town square” of the world comes as a response to Musk’s disturbing endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory.
As a result, prominent accounts affiliated with brands like Disney, Paramount, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Universal, and Warner Bros. Discovery (the parent company of CNN) have refrained from publishing on the platform for approximately 10 days.
Exodus of Big Brands
Decision of these media giants to abstain from posting on Elon Musk’s platform is not a coincidence; it is a deliberate choice driven by concerns over brand safety. Companies like Disney and Warner Bros.
Discovery have suspended their advertising on Musk’s platform, formerly known as Twitter, amidst the crisis surrounding the company’s association with antisemitism. This move reflects the growing unease among advertisers who no longer want to be associated with a platform that endorses hate speech.
Extending Beyond Corporate Accounts
The repercussions of this advertising boycott extend beyond the corporate accounts of these media companies. Even high-profile accounts affiliated with Disney, such as @StarWars, @Pixar, and @MarvelStudios, have ceased to operate on Musk’s platform.
These accounts, which used to post multiple times a day to millions of followers, have now actively shifted their focus to Threads, a rival platform owned by Meta.
For instance, when “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” announced that the host, Stephen Colbert, would be off the air due to appendicitis, the program made the announcement on Threads instead of Musk’s platform.
Prior to Musk’s endorsement of an antisemitic post, Colbert’s show was predominantly active on the platform, regularly posting videos and other content. However, the situation has now reversed.
Concerns and Alarm Bells
When contacted for comments regarding the loss of these media giants on the platform, representatives from Musk’s company did not directly respond to the questions.
This lack of response raises alarm bells within the social media company. It is already challenging for a struggling company to lose advertising revenue, but it becomes even worse when it also lacks content, especially from influential entities that have helped make the platform a hub for real-time discussions over the years.
Potential Reversals and Future Direction
It is possible that these companies might change course in the future and resume posting and advertising on Elon Musk’s platform. History has shown that advertisers often return to a medium after a mass exodus.
However, with Musk at the helm of the platform, overseeing critical decisions that have contributed to the rise of hate speech (while personally contributing to the problem), the risk-reward calculation for engaging with the company has plummeted. This situation mirrors the time when Tucker Carlson permanently drove away most advertisers from the 8 p.m. slot on Fox News during his time at the network.
If more companies and notable figures abandon Musk’s platform in favor of other social networks, it will erode the appeal it once had, providing another reason for average users to leave the problematic platform.
As Casey Newton from Platformer puts it, “Every day, more brands are realizing the reality that Twitter is dead, and X is a black hole. The global town square is now scattered across many different platforms, and increasingly, the most relevant conversations are taking place elsewhere.”
The bandonment of Elon Musk’s platform by major media brands signifies a significant shift in advertising strategies. Companies are no longer willing to compromise their brand safety by associating with a platform that endorses hate speech and antisemitism.
As the exodus continues, it remains to be seen if Musk’s platform can recover its former status as a global hub for real-time discussions or if it will fade into irrelevance. The future of X hangs in the balance as advertisers and users make their decisions based on principles and values.