- 40 nonprofits and advocacy groups sent a letter to top Twitter advertisers in light of Musk’s takeover.
- The groups said brands like HBO and Amazon should push Musk to embrace content moderation or suspend their ads.
- Musk has expressed contempt for both ads and moderation and said he aims to decrease Twitter’s reliance on ad revenue.
In response to Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, 40 justice organizations and media watchdog groups on Tuesday sent a letter to top advertisers on the social platform, urging them to push Musk to embrace content moderation or boycott Twitter entirely.
“We, the undersigned organizations, call on you to notify Musk and publicly commit that you will cease all advertising on Twitter globally if he follows through on his plans to undermine brand safety and community standards including gutting content moderation,” the letter read. “This means that Musk must not roll back the basic moderation practices Twitter already has on the books now and must commit to actually enforcing those rules.”
The letter was signed by media and tech reform organizations including Free Press, Public Citizen, and Accountable Tech as well as advocacy groups like NAACP, National Center for Transgender Equality, and National Hispanic Media Coalition. It was addressed to the top 20 Twitter advertisers that collectively have spent an estimated $358 million on ads this year as identified by Media Matters for America, including Amazon, HBO, Apple, IBM, and Disney.
None of the brands addressed in the letter responded to Insider’s requests for comment. Tesla competitors Ford and GM have already suspended ads on the platform since Musk’s takeover.
Musk has previously expressed contempt for both ads and content moderation and, in promises to investors, said he aims to decrease Twitter’s reliance on ad revenue. However, in a letter Posted to Twitter last week, Musk assured advertisers the platform would not become a “free-for-all hellscape” and he aims to make it “the most respected advertising platform in the world,” though his plans for a future content moderation system remain unclear.
The open letter to advertisers approached content moderation on Twitter from a brand safety standpoint, saying the companies have “a moral and civic obligation” to prevent the “degradation” of the platform and to consider the impact of having their advertisements appear next to increasingly violent or hateful speech online.
“Within 24 hours of Musk taking ownership, the platform was inundated with hate and disinformation,” the letter read, citing reports that use of N-word on Twitter jumped by almost 500% after Musk’s takeover and his own recent tweets sharing conspiracy theories about the attack on Paul Pelosi.
“Not only are extremists celebrating Musk’s takeover of Twitter, they are seeing it as a new opportunity to post the most abusive, harassing, and racist language and imagery,” the letter read. “This includes clear threats of violence against people with whom they disagree. Without deliberate efforts by Twitter to address this type of abuse and hate, your brands will be actively supporting accelerating extremism.”
Musk and representatives for Twitter did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.