It’s been a busy week for Tesla founder and self-professed “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator” Elon Musk.
In addition to firing large swathes of Twitter’s workforce while exchanging barbs with celebrities unhappy they will soon have to pay $8 a month to keep their blue verification badges, Musk has been juggling an exodus of advertisers.
Big corporate names including General Motors, Audi, and General Mills have suspended advertising on Twitter, owing to concerns about “brand safety and suitability”.
Musk has now drawn attention to this massive advertiser pull-out, tweeting: “Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists.”
“Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”
To be more specific, a coalition of more than 60 left-wing activist groups entitled #StopToxicTwitter has gained steam in the wake of Twitter’s acquisition by Musk, and is haranguing its advertisers.
The coalition, which includes the NAACP, GLAAD, and the Anti-Defamation League, penned an open letter to Twitter’s top 20 advertisers; breathlessly begging them to cease all advertising and citing fears of a proliferation of “hate and disinformation” on the site.
Anybody who keeps even half an eye on Twitter will know this is almost entirely disingenuous.
The platform has been a cesspool of hate and disinformation for many years.
The difference, however, is that it’s often been spread by leftists, which is apparently A-okay.
Organisations like the NAACP and GLAAD made no petition to advertisers about Twitter being used as a platform to promote Black Lives Matter race riots, or to hurl obscenely misogynistic abuse at Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
In addition, #StopToxicTwitter evidently has no problem with Twitter being used to spread conspiracy theories and disinformation about Donald Trump supposedly rigging the 2016 election with help from Russia.
That’s why they made no objection to companies advertising on Twitter circa publicity surrounding the Mueller Report into Russian interference.
As for the corporations with cold feet, the advertiser exodus is a way for woke capitalists to nail their companies’ ideological colours to the mast.
They’re happy for hate and disinformation to permeate the platforms they advertise on, if it’s the “right” kind of hate and disinformation.
You know; the kind that facilitates the woke cultural narrative that allows big corporations to hijack trendy social movements like Black Lives Matter and Pride to sell more products and services.
This panic from activists and advertisers isn’t about hate, or disinformation, or “brand safety”.
It’s about the fact they will soon lose control of the narrative on Twitter.
If corporations were really concerned about problematic content on the platform, they would not have begun advertising on the site in the first place.
If left-wing activists really objected to hate and disinformation, they’d make an effort to be more tolerant and understanding of people who disagree with their politics.
The benefit, however, of an advertiser exodus is activists will no longer be able to harass big corporations into tightening the purse strings to sway Twitter’s decision making.
Perhaps, given the rollout of the $8 subscription fee for blue check status, that was part of Musk’s grand plan all along.