IBM has decided to suspend all advertising on X after its ads were found next to pro-Nazi content on the platform. Nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters reported that ads for IBM and other tech giants were placed alongside pro-Nazi memes and posts promoting Hitler, prompting IBM to take immediate action.
In a statement, IBM stated that it has “zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination” and deemed the situation “entirely unacceptable.” As a result, the company has suspended all advertising on X while it conducts an investigation into the matter.
Comcast, whose ads were also highlighted by Media Matters, is also looking into the situation.
An executive at X confirmed that the posts identified by Media Matters will no longer be monetizable. These posts will now be labelled as “sensitive media” and users will have to click through a warning to view the content.
The executive acknowledged that while it is not an ideal placement for any ad, the specific post in question only received around 8,000 impressions.
It is currently unclear how many ad campaigns will be affected by IBM’s decision to suspend ads on X. However, this move by another high-profile company is yet another blow to X’s already struggling advertising business.
In a post on X, CEO Linda Yaccarino addressed the issue of discrimination, stating that “discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board.”
Although she did not directly reference IBM or Media Matters’ report, Yaccarino emphasized that X has been clear about its efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination, reiterating that there is no place for such behavior in the world.
This incident underscores the importance for brands to closely monitor where their ads are being placed and to ensure that they align with their values. Advertisers must be vigilant in partnering with platforms that actively combat hate speech and discrimination.
While X has taken steps to label and restrict access to sensitive content, this incident serves as a reminder that more can be done to prevent ads from appearing alongside inappropriate or offensive material.
Platforms must continue to improve their algorithms and content moderation systems to provide a safer advertising environment for brands.
IBM’s decision to suspend advertising on X sends a strong message that companies will not tolerate their brands being associated with hate speech or discriminatory content. It also highlights the need for platforms to take immediate action when such issues arise.