Major companies such as Apple, Disney, Lionsgate Entertainment and Paramount Global have for the time being stopped their advertising on Elon Musk’s social media platform X after Musk supported an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on this platform.
In response to an anti-Semitic post, Musk responded to X with the words: “You speak the real truth”.
This placement has now resulted in a large exodus of advertisers.
“Lionsgate has suspended advertising on X due to Elon Musk’s recent anti-Semitic tweets,” a spokesperson for the film production and distribution company told AFP.
IBM said Thursday it had stopped advertising on X because of a report that its ads were being shown next to pro-Nazi posts on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The White House condemned Musk on Friday for his “abhorrent promotion” of anti-Semitism.
The original anti-Semitic post is seen by the White House and the US media as a reference to a long-standing white supremacist conspiracy theory that Jews have a secret plan to bring in illegal immigrants to weaken white majorities.
This theory was promoted by the man who carried out a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018. A total of 11 people died during the shooting at the time.
Andrew Bates, spokesman for the White House, now says with reference to Musk’s response to the post, it is “unacceptable” to repeat such a “horrible lie”.
“We condemn this abhorrent promotion of anti-Semitic and racist hatred, which goes against our core values as Americans, in the strongest possible terms,” says Bates.
To make matters worse, a recent study by the disinformation monitoring group NewsGuard shows that paying subscribers of X are the biggest distributors of disinformation about the Israel-Hamas war.
“During all this Musk-induced chaos, corporate ads also appeared on pro-Hitler‑, Holocaust-denier‑, white nationalist, pro-violence‑ and neo-Nazi accounts,” says Media Matters.
Media Matters found that Apple‑, Oracle‑ and IBM ads were displayed on X alongside posts about Hitler and the Nazi party.
“IBM does not tolerate hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this totally unacceptable situation,” the New York-based technology company said in response to an inquiry from AFP.
A manager at X meanwhile told AFP that the X accounts pointed out by Media Matters had been briefly checked and the users would no longer be able to make money from advertising.
The posts themselves will be labeled as “sensitive media” according to the executive authority.
“Ads follow the people on X, in this case Media Matters’ researcher who actively went looking for this content – that’s how user targeting works,” explained the manager.