Thursday , December 7 2023

X ad boycott gathers pace amid antisemitism storm


ARMONK, NEW YORK: Firms including Apple, Disney and IBM have paused advertising on X amid an antisemitism storm on the site.

It comes after X owner Elon Musk amplified an antisemitic trope on the platform formerly known as Twitter.

The boycott has also been picking up steam in the wake of an investigation by a US group which flagged ads appearing next to pro-Nazi posts on X.

Musk has denied his post was antisemitic and has threatened to sue over the advertising investigation.

Left-leaning pressure group Media Matters for America said it had identified ads bought by high-profile firms next to posts including Hitler quotes, praise of Nazis and Holocaust denial.

A spokesperson for X told media that the company does not intentionally place brands “next to this kind of content” and the platform is dedicated to combatting antisemitism.

Musk said on Saturday that X would file a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against Media Matters “the split second court opens on Monday”.

He said the group’s report had “misrepresented the real user experience of X” in order to “undermine freedom of speech and mislead advertisers”.

On Wednesday Musk replied to a post sharing a conspiracy theory which accused Jewish communities of pushing hatred against white people, calling it “actual truth”.

The billionaire Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur later said his comments referred not to all Jewish people but to groups like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other unspecified groups.

The White House denounced Musk’s endorsement of the post.

“We condemn this abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate in the strongest terms,” said spokesperson Andrew Bates.

On Thursday, IBM became the first company to pull its advertising from the site following the Media Matters investigation, saying the juxtaposition of its ads with Nazi content was “completely unacceptable”.

The European Commission, Comcast, TV network Paramount and movie studio Lionsgate have also pulled ad dollars from X.

On Friday, as controversy over the pro-Nazi posts mounted, Musk announced new steps to combat what he described as “calls for extreme violence” against Israel.

In a post on X, he said anyone using such phrases as “from the river to the sea” – which the ADL considers to be a coded call for Israel’s destruction – would be suspended from the platform.

The ADL, one of the most vocal critics of how X moderates incendiary content, offered rare praise for Musk. Its chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt said the announcement was “an important and welcome move”. (Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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