Billionaire Elon Musk is the European Union’s “worst nightmare”, a Brussels insider has said after the bloc allegedly moved to ban staff from advertising on X – formerly known as Twitter.
Pieter Cleppe also said the logic behind the apparent decision was “questionable” in the light of changes which the social media platform has introduced.
The wealthy entrepreneur is at the centre of a massive controversy after companies including IBM, NBCUniversal and its parent company Comcast pulled ads over concerns they were showing up next to pro-Nazi content and hate speech on X, acquired by Mr Musk last year.
And the bloc appears to have followed suit, with Politico claiming the European Commission’s Deputy Chief Spokesperson Dana Spinan had written to senior officials voicing concerns about “disinformation”, particularly in relation to the Israel-Hamas war.
The note urged all heads of service and directors general to “temporarily suspend advertising on this platform until further notice to avoid risks of reputational damage to the Commission”.
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Mr Cleppe, Editor-in-chief of BrusselsReport.eu, told Express.co.uk: “Elon Musk is basically the EU’s worst nightmare.”
The 52-year-old South African, who also owns SpaceX, was somebody who was “completely outside their jurisdiction with very deep pockets and attitudes which do not align with theirs in the least”, Mr Cleppe explained.
He continued: “It’s problematic in the first place for the EU to run ‘ads’ on social media with taxpayers money, given how the EU tends to conflate ‘providing information’ with promoting biased opinions.
“Also their charge of Twitter/X suffering more from disinformation than other social media platforms is questionable.
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“On the contrary, with its new “community notes” system, Twitter/X seems to have found a fantastic method to combat disinformation, as both rightwing and leftwing propaganda has been corrected thanks to this system.
The liberal advocacy group Media Matters said in a report on Thursday that ads from Apple and Oracle also were placed next to anti-Semitic material.
On Friday it said it also found ads from Amazon, NBA Mexico, NBCUniversal and others next to white nationalist hashtags.
In a statement, the company said: “IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation.”
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Musk sparked outcry this week with his own tweets responding to a user who accused Jews of hating white people and professing indifference to anti-Semitism, saying: “You have said the actual truth.”
He has faced other accusations of tolerating anti-Semitic messages on the platform since purchasing it, and the content on X has gained increased scrutiny since the war between Israel and Hamas began.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino said X’s “point of view has always been very clear that discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board.”
She tweeted on Thursday: “I think that’s something we can and should all agree on.”
Ms Yaccarino, a former NBCUniversal executive, was hired by Mr Musk to rebuild ties with advertisers who fled after he took over, concerned that his easing of content restrictions was allowing hateful and toxic speech to flourish and that would harm their brands.
She said: “When it comes to this platform – X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat anti-Semitism and discrimination.
“There’s no place for it anywhere in the world.
“It’s ugly and wrong. Full stop.”
Express.co.uk has gone to X for a comment.
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