GM Suspends Twitter Advertising After Rival Tesla Owner Elon Musk Takes Control


General Motors suspended advertising on Twitter Friday after Elon Musk, owner of rival automotive manufacturer Tesla, took control of the social media site.

Brandon visited a GM plant last November (file screen image.)

CNBC first reported the suspension (excerpt):

General Motors is suspending its advertising on Twitter following Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media platform, the company told CNBC on Friday.

The Detroit automaker, a rival to Musk’s Tesla, said it is “pausing” advertising as it evaluates Twitter’s new direction. It will continue to use the platform to interact with customers but not pay for advertising, GM added.

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“We are engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership. As is normal course of business with a significant change in a media platform, we have temporarily paused our paid advertising. Our customer care interactions on Twitter will continue,” the company said in an emailed statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday night that advertisers were considering a boycott of Twitter if Musk reinstated the account of President Trump (Trump has said he has no plans to return to Twitter) (excerpt):

Advertisers are concerned about the billionaire’s plans to soften content moderation and what they say are potential conflicts of interest in auto advertising, given that he is chief executive of Tesla Inc., say people familiar with the situation.

Mr. Musk said this spring that as owner of Twitter he would reinstate former President Donald Trump’s account, which the platform suspended indefinitely after linking Mr. Trump’s comments to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. That would be a red line for some brands, said Kieley Taylor, global head of partnerships at GroupM, a leading ad-buying agency that represents blue-chip brands.

About a dozen of GroupM’s clients, which own an array of well-known consumer brands, have told the agency to pause all their ads on Twitter if Mr. Trump’s account is reinstated, Ms. Taylor said. Others are in wait-and-see mode. Ms. Taylor said she expects to hear from many more clients if Mr. Trump’s account returns.

The move by GM comes after a call by Media Matters for an advertiser boycott of Twitter, “9) Twitter’s major advertisers should make it clear right now that if Musk rolls back the brand safety policies that he has said he was going to roll back, that they plan on walking immediately. Twitter’s top 20 advertisers here:”

Media Matters also called for Twitter to be deplatformed from app stores, “10) Separately, if Elon Musk even does half of what he promised to do in terms of rolling back policies around moderation, extremism and misinformation, then Twitter would be out of compliance with Apple and Google’s App Store requirements…11) Apple and Google need to be prepared to enforce their own policies and terms of use. They’ve been more than willing to do it against fringier or newer entities. But so far, have consistently given the major players more leeway — although not nearly as much as Musk would need:

Musk tweeted a statement to advertisers Thursday saying he would not turn Twitter into a “free-for-all hellscape.”

Musk announced Friday Twitter is forming a content moderation council, “Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints. No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”

UPDATE: Media Matters staffer Andrew Lawrence was suspended Friday for an abusive tweet targeting Musk that said, “@elonmusk please have sex with my wife sir.”

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