Advertisers are pulling out of Twitter amid ‘uncertainty’ about Musk

Some advertisers are pulling out of buying ad placements on Twitter as they determine what the site will look like under new owner Elon Musk.

In a statement to NBC News, Omnicom, the world’s second-largest company by revenue, said that while it remained in close contact with Twitter to determine any changes to the site’s features, “uncertainty of this nature causes concerns for advertisers.” . The company said it will continue to provide guidance to customers so they can make informed decisions.

Meanwhile, a source familiar with the thinking of Interpublic Group’s Mediabrand ad agency unit said it had advised its clients to halt spending on Twitter for at least a week to assess any new changes in the site’s direction. An Interpublic spokesman declined to comment.

Musk confirmed the impact of the withdrawal in a tweet on Friday, saying “Twitter has had a huge drop in revenue” and accusing “activist groups,” he said, of “putting pressure on advertisers.”

He added: “Extremely confusing! They are trying to destroy free speech in America.”

There is no evidence that advertisers are responding en masse to activist groups, and Musk’s tweet was later given additional context by users who linked to news articles that suggested the advertisers were acting independently.

On Friday, a group of 60 civil rights and civil society groups, including the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League, launched the website StopToxicTwitter.com, urging major brands to stop advertising on Twitter. As of this writing, there was still no evidence that companies or advertising groups had acted in response to this campaign.

It’s unclear what, if any, changes Musk and his team have made to the platform since he closed his $44 billion deal to keep the company private last week, though at least one study found that hate speech on platform increased immediately after the acquisition. Musk himself posted, and then deleted, a debunked, anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory about the attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, days after the deal closed.

When asked how brands will position themselves in this opening chapter of Twitter’s new era, Wedbush Securities CEO Dan Ives told NBC News that advertisers simply don’t want to be associated with controversy.

“If there is a meaningful street fight around hate speech, advertisers will run for the hills,” Ives said.

“That’s basically the problem. You’re trying to bring back advertisers while loosening content moderation. They’re exactly the opposite of each other. And no advertiser is going to jump in until they learn the rules of the game. And Musk is going to the beat a different drummer”.

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