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More Advertisers Halt X Spending Amid Growing Backlash Against Musk

More major advertisers have suspended spending on X, the social media service formerly known as Twitter, as backlash continued following Elon Musk’s decision. endorsement of an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on X.

Entertainment company Warner Bros. Discovery and Sony joined other major brands in halting spending on X. IBM halted its advertising on media. which owns CBS, all suspended their ads Friday.

The spending freeze comes as X struggles to win back advertisers who were reluctant to spend on the platform after Mr. Musk took control a year ago and announced he would relax content moderation rules. Big brands tend to be careful about placing their ads next to posts that contain offensive or hateful language.

Mr. Musk, who bought Twitter in October 2022 and renamed it X, gained attention this week after responding to a post on Hamas for pushing the “exact type of dialectical hatred against white people that they claim they want people to stop using against them” and supporting the immigration of “hordes of minorities.”

“You told the real truth,” Mr. Musk replied. Jewish groups said Mr. Musk’s message reinforced a conspiracy theory known as the replacement theory, according to which Jews organized non-white immigrants to replace the white race. The concept was adopted by Robert Bowers, who killed 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018.

Mr. Musk’s statement drew condemnation from the White House on Friday. White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement that it was “unacceptable at any time to repeat the hideous lie behind the deadliest act of anti-Semitism in American history, let alone one months after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust.”

Mr. Musk lashed out at advertisers who withdrew their dollars from X on Friday and threatened legal action against Media Matters, a left-wing advocacy organization that said it had found anti-Semitic content on X and featured ads for Apple, IBM and other brands that appeared alongside messages touting Hitler and the Nazi Party.

In a job On Friday evening, Mr. Musk said: “The split-second court opens on Monday, X Corp will file a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and EVERYONE who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company.

X said the search strategy Media Matters used to discover ads accompanying anti-Semitic content was not representative of how ordinary people use its platform. The organization tracked the accounts that posted the content and then refreshed X’s timeline until the ads appeared, X said in a statement. blog post. Only one of the nine posts highlighted by Media Matters violated its content moderation rules, X added.

In a statement, Joe Benarroch, head of sales operations at for advertisers. .” He added: “The data outweighs the claims. »

Media Matters said it would defend itself against the lawsuits filed by aimed at silencing information whose accuracy he even confirmed,” said Angelo Carusone. , the president of Media Matters. “Musk admitted that the ads in question were running alongside the pro-Nazi content we had identified. It’s like getting angry at a mirror because you don’t like the reflection. If he sues us, we will win.

Ryan Mac reports contributed.

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