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IBM pulls ads from Elon Musk's X after report says they appeared next to antisemitic posts

IBM has stopped advertising on social media platform X after a report said its ads were appearing alongside material praising Adolf Hitler and Nazis

Kelvin Chan
Friday 17 November 2023 14:16 GMT
Musk-X-Advertisers
Musk-X-Advertisers (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

IBM has stopped advertising on social media platform X after a report said its ads were appearing alongside material praising Adolf Hitler and Nazis — a fresh setback as the site formerly known as Twitter tries to win back big brands and their ad dollars.

The U.S. tech company made the decision after a report Thursday by the liberal advocacy group Media Matters said ads from IBM, Apple, Oracle, NBCUniversal's Bravo network and Comcast were placed next to antisemitic material on X.

“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," the company said in a terse statement.

Billionaire owner Elon Musk sparked outcry this week with his own tweets responding to a user who accused Jews of hating white people and professing indifference to antisemitism. “You have said the actual truth,” Musk tweeted in a reply Wednesday.

Musk has faced accusations of tolerating antisemitic messages on the platform since purchasing it last year, and the content on X has gained increased scrutiny since the war between Israel and Hamas began.

“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,” CEO Linda Yaccarino said in a tweet.

She was hired by 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.

“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," Yaccarino said.

The accounts that Media Matters found posting antisemitic material will no longer be monetizable and that the specific posts will be labeled “sensitive media," according to a statement from X on Friday.

The Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Jewish civil-rights organization, has previously accused Musk of allowing antisemitism and hate speech to spread on the platform and amplifying the messages of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who want to ban the group.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a September meeting with Musk, told the Tesla CEO that he hopes he can find a way to roll back antisemitism and other forms of hatred within the limits of the First Amendment.

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