Elon Musk's offer to buy Twitter has generated a host of reactions in various groups. While some employees and users fear that the platform will become a hotbed of harassment and misinformation, others applaud Musk's arrival to boost freedom of expression. An important sector is advertisers, who are cautiously looking at the future of the social network and have already expressed their concern.
According to a report in the Financial Times, organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP and Color of Change doubt the future of Twitter. Jonathan Greenblatt, director of the Anti-Defamation League, said that Twitter has made some progress in fighting hate and extremism online in recent years.
While we want to be cautiously optimistic about how Elon Musk will handle the platform, he has shown no focus on these issues to date. We are concerned that it might take things in a very different direction.
This is important, as Greenblatt and company launched the #StopHateForProfit campaign to prevent companies from advertising on Facebook. The boycott was echoed by companies like Unilever, Coca-Cola and Starbucks, who turned their backs on the social network after refusing to moderate the platform and prevent hate speech.
Twitter assures its advertisers that the platform is a safe place
To avoid a new boycott, Twitter executives have already contacted advertisers to inform them that the platform will be a safe place. Through an email, they assured them that they are committed to ensuring that the ads are not placed next to harmful or offensive content.
Brian Wieser, president of business intelligence at agency GroupM, said the expectation is that Elon Musk's comments will lead to Twitter becoming more toxic and less friendly to brands. Elon is an enemy of content moderation and a change to the current rules will not go down well with advertisers.
The advertising boycott of Facebook in 2020 caused a stir among many. Although the action did not affect Meta, it caused a radical change in the way brands view social networks.
Stephan Loerke, president of the World Federation of Advertisers, said long-term impact is more important. According to Loerke, the point of view of brands carries weight in the industry. Although Facebook pledged to mitigate hateful content on its platform, Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that he would not give in to lawsuits.
For now it is early to make a decision regarding Twitter. Most advertisers will wait to see the true impact of Elon's direction. If the purchase is confirmed, the operation will be completed by the end of 2022. Until that happens, the platform will continue to operate under the direction of Parag Agrawal and following the current content policies.