‘Toxic Twitter’ activists ramp up pressure on brands after Trump account reinstated

Nov 21 (Reuters) – A coalition of civil rights activists urged Twitter advertisers on Monday to issue statements about pulling their ads from the social media platform after owner Elon Musk lifted a ban on tweets of former US President Donald Trump.

Trump’s account, which was suspended by Twitter after the riot in the US Capitol. USA on January 6, 2021, citing the risk of inciting violence, the weekend was reinstated. 90% of Twitter’s revenue comes from selling digital ads.

Groups in the Stop Toxic Twitter coalition complained that Musk had promised advertisers that Twitter would take a considered approach to reinstate banned accounts and convene a new content moderation board. As of Monday, no such advisory had been created.

“It was a real breach,” Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, a left-wing media watchdog that is part of the coalition, said Monday. He said Musk “lied from the beginning.”

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“In less than three weeks, Musk has gone back on every promise he made to civil rights leaders and advertisers,” said Jessica Gonzalez, co-chief executive of the Free Press media and democracy group, which is also part of the Twitter coalition. a press release.

Twitter, which lost much of its communications team when Musk cut staff shortly after taking over, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This month, Musk complained that activist pressure had already led to a “massive drop in revenue.”

Twitter began restoring banned or suspended accounts late last week, including comedian Kathy Griffin and Trump.

The platform also reinstated US House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s personal Twitter account on Monday.

Of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers by total spend this year, 51 have paused ads based on private conversations with the coalition, public statements or spending data provided by ad measurement firm Pathmatics, Carusone said.

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The coalition is asking brands that didn’t post their pause on Twitter to issue public statements and help build pressure on the other 49 advertisers that didn’t take action, it said.

“You have to take a stand and draw the line,” Carusone said. “It’s important for the big spenders to say they’ve stopped.”

The coalition will consider naming the companies later this week if they have not issued a public statement about the ad break, he added.

Musk tweeted Saturday that Twitter would reinstate the former president’s account after a narrow majority voted yes in Musk’s poll on the issue.

The names on Twitter’s list of top advertisers have changed since the week before Musk closed his deal to acquire the company. Major brands HBO and Mondelez were Twitter’s top two advertisers in the week before the acquisition, according to Pathmatics data. But between November 10 and 16, after Musk laid off half of Twitter’s staff, the top two advertisers were FinanceBuzz.io, a personal finance website, and Trendytowns, an e-commerce site based in Singapore.

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Data from Pathmatics showed that the top 100 advertisers between November 10 and November 16 spent about $23.6 million on Twitter, compared to $24. 2 million were spent between October 16 and 22 before Musk became the owner of Twitter.

Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas; edited by Kenneth Li and David Gregorio

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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