January 31, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

Advertisers are starting to grill Elon Musk ‘for free’ via Twitter

REUTERS

Elon Musk promised advertisers that he would keep Twitter from turning into a “hellscape free for all.” This week, advertisers are beginning to demand details on how he plans to uphold the commitment.

A media buyer for a major ad agency, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals, said the agency will meet with Mr Musk this week to ask how the Tesla boss plans to fight misinformation on social media -Platform to proceed.

The buyer also wanted to know how Musk’s promise squared with his own actions, including a tweet over the weekend that promoted a conspiracy theory about the attack on US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.

Other issues include Mr. Musk’s plan to increase the cost of Twitter’s subscription service and run “half as many ads,” and who will serve as a point of contact for advertisers after a number of executives, including Twitter’s advertising chief, told the company have since left he took over.

The agency’s top clients are expected to attend the meeting, the media buyer said.

Neither Twitter nor Mr Musk immediately responded to requests for comment.

After tweeting about his aversion to advertising in 2019, Mr Musk is now under pressure not to alienate advertisers, who make up more than 90% of his revenue. He spends his first week as chief executive officer in New York, with fellow venture capitalists who join him at meetings to reassure companies that donate more than $5 billion annually to Twitter.

Jason Calacanis, an angel investor and podcast host who is supporting Mr Musk in his first week as an owner, tweeted Monday that Twitter had a “very productive day” meeting advertisers and marketers.

Another media buyer who spoke to Reuters said his agency would not meet with Mr Musk until he formulates direction for Twitter or provides a significant update on how the platform will serve advertisers.

Some clients have already started pausing ad spend on Twitter this week, said the second media buyer, who declined to name the advertisers because the source was not authorized to do so.

The buyer said some customers had already pulled out of Twitter due to months of chaos surrounding the deal, others in response to concerns about child sexual abuse material on Twitter.

IPG, an advertising holding company that represents major clients including Coca-Cola and American Express, has advised customers to suspend their Twitter ads for the next week, according to a person familiar with the matter.

While Mr. Musk held meetings with major agencies and advertisers this week, he took to Twitter on Wednesday night with a poll asking users whether advertisers should support freedom of speech or “political correctness.” Out of more than a million votes, 80% answered “Freedom of Speech”.

“Such provocations do nothing to calm the waves,” said the media buyer.

Other marketers also took to LinkedIn to voice their concerns about Mr. Musk’s takeover of the platform.

“Unless Elon hires new executives dedicated to protecting this ‘free’ platform from hate speech, it is not a platform for brands to/should advertise on,” said Allie Wassum, global director of social and integrated media for the Shoe brand Jordan, which is owned by Nike, in a post on Linkedin.

Ms Wassum did not respond to a request for further comment. – Reuters