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Sponsors Abandon Elon Musk's X Due to Worries of Negative Reaction to Anti-Semitic Remarks
Middle East Technology

Sponsors Abandon Elon Musk’s X Due to Worries of Negative Reaction to Anti-Semitic Remarks

Businesses are leaving social media platform X due to worries about their advertisements being displayed alongside pro-Nazi material and hateful language in general. The site’s billionaire owner, Elon Musk, has also contributed to the tension by sharing his support for an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

This week, IBM announced that it has ceased advertising on X due to concerns that its ads were being displayed alongside content that promotes Nazism. This is a significant obstacle for the platform, formerly known as Twitter, as it strives to regain the trust and financial support of major companies, as they provide the majority of X’s revenue.

According to a report released on Thursday by the progressive organization Media Matters, advertisements from Apple, Oracle, Bravo (a network owned by NBCUniversal), and Comcast were found to have been placed alongside content promoting antisemitic views on X.

In a statement, IBM stated that they have a strict policy against hate speech and discrimination. As a result, they have temporarily stopped advertising on X while they thoroughly investigate the unacceptable incident.

Apple, Oracle, NBCUniversal and Comcast didn’t respond immediately to requests seeking comment on their next steps.

On Friday, the European Union’s governing body announced a temporary halt to advertising on X and other social media sites due to an increase in hate speech. Additionally, Disney, Lionsgate, and Paramount Global stated that they would also be suspending or pausing their advertising on X later in the day.

Musk caused a stir this week when he replied to a tweet from a user who made an offensive comment about Jews and antisemitism. In his response on Wednesday, Musk agreed with the statement made by the user.

Musk has been accused of allowing anti-Semitic content on the platform since buying it last year. The content on X has come under more scrutiny since the conflict between Israel and Hamas started.

On Friday, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates denounced Musk’s tweet promoting anti-Semitic and racist hate as conflicting with the fundamental principles of American values.

Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, stated that the company’s stance has consistently been to put an end to discrimination by all individuals across all levels.

“I believe that is a point of consensus for all of us,” she posted on Twitter on Thursday.

Former NBCUniversal executive Yaccarino was brought on by Musk to repair relationships with advertisers who had left due to concerns over his relaxed content restrictions, which were seen as promoting hate and toxicity and potentially damaging their brands.

Yaccarino stated that on this platform, we are committed to fighting against antisemitism and discrimination. These behaviors have no place in the world and are unacceptable.

Media Matters and Anti-Defamation League

X has stated that any accounts discovered by Media Matters to be sharing content with antisemitic themes will no longer be able to make money from their posts. Additionally, these specific posts will be marked as “sensitive media.” However, Musk has criticized Media Matters, referring to them as “an evil organization.”

The leader of the Anti-Defamation League responded to Musk’s tweets this week, adding to the ongoing conflict between the influential Jewish civil rights group and the wealthy entrepreneur.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt stated on X that it is undeniably hazardous to use one’s influence to legitimize and advocate for antisemitic beliefs, especially during a period of increasing antisemitism in the United States and globally.

Musk also tweeted this week that he was “deeply offended by ADL’s messaging and any other groups who push de facto anti-white racism or anti-Asian racism or racism of any kind.”

In the past, the group has accused Musk of enabling the proliferation of antisemitism and hateful language on the platform. They also claim that he has promoted the views of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who are seeking to have the ADL banned.

from EU ban on bee-killing pesticides

The European Commission has decided not to implement a European Union-wide prohibition on pesticides that harm bees.

The European Commission has announced a suspension of its social media advertisements due to a significant rise in disinformation and hate speech being spread on various platforms in recent weeks.

The EU’s executive branch, known as the commission, has recommended that its departments avoid promoting on social media platforms where questionable content may be present. This does not apply to their verified accounts on X.

The European Union has adopted strict measures to regulate social media networks. In the previous month, they requested information from X regarding their management of hate speech, false information, and violent terrorist material pertaining to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

TikTok troubles

X is not the only one facing issues with troublesome content since the conflict.

TikTok recently removed the hashtag #lettertoamerica on Thursday due to users sharing videos sympathizing with Osama bin Laden’s 2002 letter, which justified the 9/11 terrorist attacks and criticized U.S. support for Israel. The Guardian, who originally published the letter’s transcript, replaced it with a statement directing readers to a news article from 2002 for more context.

The videos received significant notice from users of X who are critical of TikTok, which is controlled by ByteDance, a company based in Beijing. TikTok stated that the letter was not a popular topic on its platform and attributed the increase in interest for the hashtag to a post by journalist Yashar Ali and media coverage.

The popular video app has received backlash from Republicans and others who claim it has not adequately protected Jewish users from harassment and has been promoting pro-Palestinian material to its audience.

TikTok has strongly defended itself, stating that it has been actively removing anti-Semitic material and does not manipulate its algorithm to favor any specific viewpoint.