Major advertisers such as Apple, Disney, and Lionsgate are reportedly suspending their ads from X due to a growing backlash against antisemitic content on the platform.
This move comes after X owner Elon Musk appeared to publicly endorse an antisemitic conspiracy theory, as reported by Axios and The New York Times. Warner Brothers Discovery and Paramount Global have also paused their ads, according to Deadline and CNBC.
The decision to suspend ads follows a report by watchdog group Media Matters, which found ads for IBM’s Watson division appearing next to pro-Nazi content. The report also identified ads for Apple, Oracle, and other tech companies alongside similar content.
X’s executive assured Engadget that the identified posts were no longer monetizable and that the platform does not intentionally place brands next to such content or support it.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino emphasized the company’s efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination. However, the departures of Apple, Disney, Lionsgate, and IBM dealt a significant blow to X’s struggling ad business.
It seems that Elon Musk’s recent tweet, in which he voiced agreement with an account promoting an antisemitic conspiracy theory, prompted more advertisers to pull back from the platform, at least temporarily.
According to Axios, Apple has decided to “pause” all advertising on X, though it remains unclear whether the decision was solely driven by Musk’s tweet, Media Matters’ report, or both. The company has not yet responded to requests for comment.
Apple has previously expressed concerns about the platform’s direction under Musk’s leadership, as well as its role as a major advertiser.
In September, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that the company was constantly questioning whether it should continue advertising on X. Apple briefly paused ads on X (then Twitter) last year due to a “misunderstanding” between the two CEOs.
This recent exodus of advertisers follows civil rights groups’ call for an advertiser boycott last year after Musk took over Twitter. Concerns were raised about rising hate speech and relaxed content moderation policies under Musk’s leadership.
While some major Twitter advertisers eventually returned to the platform, the company’s ad business never fully recovered. Musk revealed that the company’s ad revenue was down more than 50% over the summer.
In addition to Apple, Disney and Lionsgate have also paused their advertising on X. Warner Brothers Discovery and Paramount Global have pulled their ads as well.
These actions by major brands reflect the increasing pressure on social media platforms to address and combat hate speech and discriminatory content.
Advertisers are becoming more vigilant in ensuring that their brands are not associated with such harmful content, and platforms like X will need to take decisive steps to regain advertisers’ trust and rebuild their ad business.