IBM says it will no longer advertise on the social media platform X — formerly Twitter — after a media watchdog report said the company’s ads were appearing alongside antisemitic posts.
The global technology company announced the decision Thursday after a report by the liberal advocacy organization Media Matters said ads from companies like IBM, Apple, Oracle, NBCUniversal’s Bravo TV network and Comcast’s Xfinity had appeared next to content that touted Adolf Hitler and Nazis. IBM then released a statement in the Financial Times saying it has “suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation.”
In the report, Media Matters also accused X owner Elon Musk of endorsing antisemitic conspiracy theories for responding to a tweet that claimed “Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them,” to which Musk replied, “You have said the actual truth.”
Earlier this year, Musk hired American media executive Linda Yaccarino as CEO to oversee business operations. But she was immediately faced with the tough task of attracting more users and advertisers to a site that has fired much of its workforce, rolled back many of its content moderation policies and, in turn, raised advertisers’ concerns about hateful speech on the platform negatively impacting their brands.
“X’s point of view has always been very clear that discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board — I think that’s something we can and should all agree on,” Yaccarino said in a tweet. “When it comes to this platform — X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination. There’s no place for it anywhere in the world — it’s ugly and wrong. Full stop.”
In July, Musk said the company was “still negative cash flow, due to (about a) 50% drop in advertising revenue plus heavy debt load.”
Musk met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September to discuss combating the spread of antisemitism on X. Netanyahu said that while he appreciates Musk’s commitment to free speech, “I hope you find within the confines of the First Amendment the ability to stop not only antisemitism, or roll it back as best you can, but any collective of hatred of the people that antisemitism represents.”
“Obviously I am against antisemitism,” Musk responded. “I am against anything that promotes hate and conflict, and I am in favor of that in which that helps society and takes us to a better future.”
Since then, Yaccarino said X has removed hundreds of accounts linked to Hamas and taken down thousands of posts following the militant group’s terrorist attack on Israel.
“There is no place on X for terrorist organizations or violent extremist groups,” she said in a statement. “And we continue to remove such accounts in real time, including proactive efforts.”