Brands that have paused ads on X amid ongoing crisis with Musk
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Brands that have paused ads on X amid ongoing crisis with Musk.

In the aftermath of Musk’s takeover last year, X has already struggled to woo brands back to the platform, and the ongoing withdrawal of advertisers represents an even greater crisis. Meanwhile, X users are also moving to alternative platforms in growing numbers.

The latest revolt began last week with IBM’s announcement that it had suspended advertising on X following a report by progressive media watchdog Media Matters. The decision by IBM comes after Musk publicly endorsed an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory earlier in the week on X.

Disney, Paramount, Comcast, Lionsgate, and NBCUniversal followed suit on Friday, though they did not specify their reasons for pulling advertising on X. Several news outlets reported that Apple also stopped spending on X advertising last week.

Brands that have paused ads on X and called on its advertising partners to help protect the “freedom of speech” it claims is threatened by extremist content on the site. It has filed a lawsuit against Media Matters for misrepresenting the likelihood that advertisements will run alongside extremist content. It also said it had disqualified the pro-Nazi accounts identified by Media Matters from monetization, which means no ads will run on their pages. Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of the company, continues to tout brand safety controls that she says will help prevent ads from running next to objectionable content.

Despite this, the company has done little else to reassure advertisers about its platform’s safety. Media Matters identified pro-Nazi accounts on the site, along with other far-right and White supremacist accounts, some of which Musk had reinstated after taking over.