50 of Twitter's top advertisers have left platform since Musk takeover

Elon Musk reveals Apple is the latest company to desert Twitter – with at least 50 of its top advertisers including Chevrolet, Chipotle, Ford and Jeep pausing ads or abandoning the platform entirely since his $44B takeover

  • According to nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters, 50 of the platform’s top 100 advertisers, which accounted for about $2 billion in spending since 2020
  • High-profile companies that have halted advertising on the site in the wake of Musk’s buyout include Chevrolet, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Ford and Jeep
  • Other noticeable names to apparently nix their relationship with the company consist of Kraft, Coca Cola, Nestle, Chanel, AT&T, CNN, Heineken, and Kellogg’s 
  • Per a flippant tweet from Musk , it appears that Apple has joined that list – with the mogul writing Monday that Apple has ‘mostly stopped’ their advertising

Apple is the latest company to desert Twitter following Elon Musk’s multibillion-dollar acquisition of the company late last month, the new CEO has announced – as a new report revealed that half of the firm’s top advertisers have pulled their partnerships with the site in recent weeks. 

According to nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters, 50 of the platform’s top 100 advertisers, which have accounted for about $2 billion in spending since the start of 2020.

High-profile companies to issue statements about halted advertising on the site in recent weeks have included Chevrolet, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Ford, and Jeep.

Other noticeable names to apparently nix their relationship with the company consist of cheese giant Kraft, Coca Cola, Nestle, Chanel, AT&T, CNN, Heineken, and Kellogg’s – dubbed ‘quiet quitters’ by the watchdog, due to their stopping advertisements without issuing a formal statement outlining their doing so.

Per a flippant tweet from Musk , it appears that Apple has joined that list – with the mogul writing Monday that Apple has ‘mostly stopped’ advertising on the platform. 

The mass exodus largely stems over ethical concerns regarding the company’s planned new direction under Musk, 51, who has aired plans to increase revenue through subscriptions and offer users increased ‘free speech.’ 

Musk’s plans – which has already seen the restoring of previously banned accounts like the one owned by former president Donald Trump – have proved polarizing not only in terms of morals, but have put it at odds with with companies like Apple, whose terms and services allows them a cut from purchases made from these ads.

New Twitter Elon Musk has revealed that Apple is the latest company to desert the platform following Elon Musk’s multibillion-dollar acquisition of the company – as a new report revealed that half of the firm’s top advertisers have pulled partnerships with the site in recent weeks

Per a flippant tweet from Musk, it now appears that Apple has joined that list, with the mogul writing Monday that Apple has ‘mostly stopped’ advertising on the platform

‘Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter,’ the South African mogul wrote Monday.

‘Do they hate free speech in America?’ Musk went on to add, a day after the exec reportedly called CEOs from many of the aforementioned companies to complain of the mass pullout, which has transpired since Musk acquired the platform at the end of October, for the lump sum of $44billion. 

Musk recently complained in a tweet about exorbitant app store fees charged by Apple and its competitor Google on companies like Twitter, which can be as high as 30 percent from purchases made inside apps.

The small sums, insiders have said, could eat into potential revenue yielded under Musk’s new ‘Twitter 2.0’ which now charges $8 per month for Twitter Blue subscriptions that gift users a blue checkmark.

Musk has called the dynamic exhibited by both Apple and Google demonstrative of a ‘duopoly,’ and has said the fees charged by the tech giants ‘are obviously too high.’

‘It is a hidden 30% tax on the Internet,’ Musk wrote in a tweet last week, tagging the Department of Justice’s antitrust division in a follow-up post. The agency is reportedly currently investigating rules surrounding companies’ app store practices.

Recent posts show that of those companies to pause their advertising over the past few weeks, none have returned to the social media service as of Monday.

Shortly after his announcement regarding Apple’s quiet pullout Monday, Musk, in a reply to a user asking if Apple is ‘threatening Twitter’s presence in the app store’ through its actions, the famously outspoken CEO provided an uncharacteristically curt response.

‘Yes,’ he wrote in response. 

Shortly after his announcement regarding Apple’s quiet pullout Monday, Musk, in a reply to a user asking if Apple is ‘threatening Twitter’s presence in the app store’ through its actions, the famously outspoken CEO provided an uncharacteristically curt response

Over the weekend, industry insiders told the Financial Times that Twitter’s current  ad situation – which has seen them lose over $750 million in advertising in 2022 alone, according to Media Matters’ report – has worsened in recent weeks, as agencies have seen decreased communication with Twitter’s ads business team due to so few staff being left following Musk’s mass layoffs.  

Musk fired roughly 50 percent of the original 7,500-strong workforce after taking control of the company in October – and has since resignations from more than 1,200 others. 

The mass walkouts came after Musk at the start of the month that staffers must commit to working ‘long hours at high intensity’ or else leave the company.

Musk recently shared slides from recent talks with Twitter workers citing a drastic reduction in hate speech since his $44billion takeover

The slides posted to Musk’s twitter page show that between October 17 and November 13 hate speech impressions are lower

Musk also reported that new user signups were at an all time high averaging over 2 million per day in the past 7 days


Twitter 2.0 ‘The Everything App’ was teased in the post, boasting advertising as entertainment, encrypted messaging, video, the relaunch of Blue verified and new payment options

These new figures, counter reports early last month which claimed an uptick in the amount of hateful language being tweeted in the wake of Musk taking the helm

That said, the vast majority of companies cited by Media Matters over the weekend fit the ‘quiet quitter’ classification, pulling ad campaigns from the social media site while not explicitly stating they were doing so or airing plans for a potential return.

Companies to issue formal statements aside from the four aforementioned included M&M maker Mars, General Motors, tech firm Kyndryl and pharma companies Merck & Co. and Novartis AG, with all citing the direction Musk was bringing the company as reasons for their decision.

In a statement earlier this month, a Mars rep wrote that the company had started suspending advertising activities on Twitter as early as September ‘when we learned of some significant brand safety and suitability incidents that impacted our brands.’

GM asserted that the company is currently ‘engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership.’

Other companies, such as Kellogg’s, have issued somewhat innocuous statements announcing pullouts without offering a timeline or a general reason behind them.

A spokesperson for the cereal company earlier this month said it was pausing its ads as it continued ‘to monitor this new direction and evaluate our marketing spend.’

Moreover, a recent Wall Street Journal report found that more than a third of Twitter’s top advertisers have not advertised on the platform in the past two weeks. Jeep, for example, along with Mars, have not had any advertisements on the site since November 7 – a week after Musk’s highly publicized takeover.

Since then, advertisers have expressed concern over the site’s strategies for moderating content and how those policies could affect the perception of their brand in the eyes of the public. 

Musk has since chastised the phenomenon as a coaligned ‘kill effort,’ designed to force Musk’s Twitter into submission ‘by starving us of advertising revenue.’

Musk, meanwhile, recently shared slides from recent talks with Twitter workers to show some positive growth as a result of his new leadership, citing a drastic reduction in hate speech since his $44billion takeover.

Top brands to pull ads in the wake of Musk’s $44B Twitter buyout

 Abbott Laboratories

Allstate Corporation

AMC Networks

American Express Company

AT&T

Big Heart Petcare

BlackRock, Inc.

BlueTriton Brands, Inc.

Boston Beer Company

CA Lottery (California State Lottery)

CenturyLink (Lumen Technologies, Inc.)

Chanel

Chevrolet*

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.

Citigroup, Inc.

CNN

Dell

Diageo

DirecTV

Discover Financial Services

Fidelity

First National Realty Partners

Ford

Heineken N.V.

Hewlett-Packard (HP)

Hilton Worldwide

Inspire Brands, Inc.

Jeep

Kellogg Company

Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc.

Kyndryl

LinkedIn Corporation

MailChimp (The Rocket Science Group)

Marriott International, Inc.

Mars Petcare

Mars, Incorporated

Merck & Co. (Merck Sharp & Dohme MSD)

Meta Platforms, Inc. (formerly Facebook, Inc.)

MoneyWise (Wise Publishing, Inc.)

Nestle

Novartis AG

Pernod Ricard

PlayPass

The Coca-Cola Company

The Kraft Heinz Company

Tire Rack

Verizon

Wells Fargo

Whole Foods Market IP

Yum! Brands

The slides, posted to on his Twitter page, show between October 17 and November 13 hate speech impressions are lower.

The CEO also reported new user signups were at an all time high, averaging over two million per day in the past week.

These new figures counter reports early last month which claimed an uptick in the amount of hateful language being tweeted in the wake of Musk taking the helm.

In the week beginning October 31, the first full week under Musk’s ownership, the Center for Countering Digital Hate claimed the use of racist, homophobic, transphobic and anti-Semitic slurs soared significantly after he took over on October 27.

It found 26,228 tweets and retweets mentioning the racist slur n****r, triple that of the 2022 average. 

33,926 tweets and retweets mentioned the slur t****y, up 53 percent on the 2022 average.

The slur f****t was up 39 percent with 21,903 tweets and retweets, while 2,598 tweets and retweets mentioning the slur k**e, up 23 percent on the 2022 average. 

1,256 tweets and retweets mentioning the slur w*g, up 62 percent, while 935 tweets and retweets mentioning the slur s**c, up 67 percent on the 2022 average.

The center said that the figures show that despite claims from Twitter’s Head of Trust and Safety, Yoel Roth, that the platform had succeeded in reducing the number of times hate speech was being seen on Twitter’s search and trending page, the actual volume of hateful tweets had in fact spiked.

This has been countered in the slides from Musk’s ‘Twitter company talk’ in which the business magnate also teased a new payment feature.

On Thursday AP reported that the European Union released data which suggested Twitter took longer to review hateful content and removed less of it in 2022 compared with the previous year.

EU figures were published as part of an annual evaluation of online platforms’ compliance with the 27-nation bloc’s code of conduct on disinformation.

Twitter wasn’t alone, most other tech companies signed up to the voluntary code also scored worse. 

But the figures could foreshadow trouble for Twitter in complying with the EU’s tough new online rules after owner Musk fired many of the platform’s 7,500 full-time workers and an untold number of contractors responsible for content moderation and other crucial tasks.

The EU report, carried out over six weeks in the spring, found Twitter assessed just over half of the notifications it received about illegal hate speech within 24 hours, down from 82 percent in 2021.

In comparison, the amount of flagged material Facebook reviewed within 24 hours fell to 64 percent, Instagram slipped to 56.9 percent and YouTube dipped to 83.3 percent while TikTok, came in at 92 percent, the only company to improve.

The amount of hate speech Twitter removed after it was flagged up slipped to 45.4 percent from 49.8 percent the year before. 

TikTok’s removal rate fell by a quarter to 60 percent, while Facebook and Instagram only saw minor declines. Only YouTube’s takedown rate increased, surging to 90 percent.

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