Activists put pressure on advertisers to drop Twitter ads over Musk takeover, employee layoffs

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Friday, November 4, 2022
Activists put pressure on advertisers to drop Twitter ads
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Activists have put pressure on advertisers to drop Twitter ads after Elon Musk's acquisition of the company and laying off of half its staff.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Representatives from organizations including GLAAD, the Anti-Defamation League and Voto Latino are escalating their message to advertisers and asking them to pull ads from Twitter amid massive layoffs at the San Francisco-based company.

They've started the #StopToxicTwitter campaign with a coalition that includes more than 60 civil rights and civil society groups.

Those involved with the campaign said Musk's layoffs make it impossible for the company to uphold brand safeguards and content moderation standards.

Representatives from at least seven of those involved organizations spoke to the media in a phone news conference Friday.

VIDEO: Here's how Twitter employees are finding out they've been laid off as nearly 50% of workforce cut

"Given the actions in the past few days and especially the mass layoffs today, it's become clear that he's not going to continue to moderate content or at least not to the effect necessary so we are calling for a global pause on ads," said Jessica J. González, co-CEO of Free Press.

Pfizer, Audi and General Mills have joined the list of big name companies pausing advertising on Twitter, according to the Wall Street Journal.

General Motors was the first company to announce it was going to hit the brakes on advertising.

All the companies have cited the takeover by Elon Musk and waiting to see what his plans are for the social media company.

Elon Musk tweeted the following at around 7:30 Friday morning: "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."

VIDEO: Bay Area tech giants announce massive layoffs on same day in what experts are calling 'unusual'

Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, accuses Musk of trying to set up a false choice and said he's signaling to advertisers that he'll use the Twitter platform toward those companies.

Those involved in the Friday phone news conference expressed concerns since Elon Musk took over a week ago, including the mass layoffs.

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLADD, said one of Musk's first actions was to spew a false conspiracy theory about Paul Pelosi.

Elon Musk weighed in on the attack on Pelosi, retweeting an article from a website known for publishing false news. In his retweet, which Musk later deleted, he suggested the baseless article might be true.

Rashad Robinson, pesident of Color of Change, said Musk's possible changes to the blue Twitter verification system before the election could have an unprecedented impact on election chaos.

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