Computer giant IBM is stopping 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 this “absolutely unacceptable situation,” a spokesperson said Thursday. The computer company wanted to spend around a million dollars on X in the last quarter, as 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 messages with positive statements about Adolf Hitler and the ideology of the National Socialists.
This is not the first time something like this has happened. Companies have little influence over exactly which posts are placed next to their ads. Advertisements are displayed more in reference to target age groups, specific areas or user interests. To avoid a negative environment for their brands, advertisers primarily rely on X to constantly keep hate speech off the platform. Other online services have also had similar problems in the past with their advertising clients, such as YouTube, Google’s video platform. At that time, it strengthened content supervision to recover advertising clients.
Since Musk bought Twitter a year ago, many companies have had concerns about precisely this and are staying away from the platform or limiting their spending. Musk has said several times that advertising revenue is only half of what it was during the Twitter era. He sometimes attempted to incite his followers against renegade advertisers. When there were reports 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 accused Twitter’s former leaders of repressing them. He promised more freedom of expression: all statements that did not violate the law would be allowed. At the same time, his dismissal actions greatly affected the Twitter teams that were supposed to ensure the elimination of hate speech.
The owner of X himself sparked a new controversy: he supported a publication that spread an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. He said, among other things, that Jews were spreading “hatred against whites.” Musk wrote in Wednesday’s post that it contained the “real truth.” Musk later added that he was referring to “some groups” such as the Jewish organization Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that “effectively spread anti-white racism and anti-Asian racism.” In other statements, Musk reiterated that, in his opinion, there is a problem of racism against whites.
ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt, writing in The American Jewish Committee, also noted that the post supported by Musk contained elements of the conspiracy theory that influenced the attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018. The attacker killed at the time to eleven people.
Musk has more than 160 million followers on X. Following previous criticism, he stressed that he had no anti-Semitic opinions. Yaccarino wrote in X on Thursday that discrimination on all sides must stop.
American investor Ross Gerber raised the question of what consequences Musk’s actions would have for the company he runs. Electric car-The manufacturer Tesla will have it. Musk does not act in the interests of Tesla, Gerber criticized on the CNBC television channel. “He destroys everything he has built” and damages the automaker’s reputation. He himself will replace his Tesla Model Y with a vehicle from competing Rivian next year, “and I’m sure the rest of Los Angeles will do the same.”
IBM shares ultimately fell 0.11 percent on the New York Stock Exchange to $152.89.
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