“Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter risks becoming a cesspool of misinformation with your brand attached,” activists warned advertisers.
San Francisco: Activists on Tuesday urged Twitter advertisers to boycott the service if it allows abusive and misleading posts with billionaire Elon Musk as its owner.
The Tesla CEO’s $44 billion deal to acquire the global messaging platform must still be approved by shareholders and regulators, but he has expressed enthusiasm for reducing content moderation to a legal minimum and no longer prohibiting people from using the platform to cause real-world harm.
“Your brand risks being associated with a platform that amplifies hate, extremism, health misinformation, and conspiracy theorists,” said an open letter signed by over two dozen organizations, including Media Matters, Access Now, and Ultraviolet.
“Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter risks devolving into a cesspool of misinformation, with your brand attached.”
The groups urged advertisers to make Twitter’s content moderation policies a non- negotiable condition of doing business with the platform.
Twitter derives the majority of its revenue from advertising, which could be jeopardized by advertisers’ reactions to content posted on the platform, according to a filing with US regulators by the San Francisco- based tech firm.
Twitter’s ad revenue increased 16 percent to $1.2 billion in the most recent quarter, while revenue from subscriptions and other means decreased to $94.4 million, according to the company’s filing.
While Musk has not revealed specifics about how he intends to run Twitter’s business, he has stated a preference for making money through subscriptions.
Analysts are skeptical that Twitter users will flock to pay for premium content or features like retweeting posts when social media platforms like Facebook are free.
According to Twitter’s filing, an average of 229 million people used Twitter daily as of the end of March, a nearly 16 percent increase from the first three months of last year.
According to the company, the company’s user growth was fueled in part by the war in Ukraine, with people using the service to find news and support.
“We believe that our long-term success will be determined by our ability to improve the health of the public conversation on Twitter,” the company stated in the filing.
Twitter told regulators that efforts toward that goal include combating abuse, harassment, spam, and “malicious automation,” or when software manages accounts rather than people.
Musk has stated that combating such automated “bots” on Twitter will be a top priority for him.
According to the filing, Twitter estimated that false or spam accounts accounted for less than 5% of its daily active users in the first quarter of this year.