Elon Musk will organize Twitter Spaces with advertisers

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Elon Musk meets with some of Twitter’s biggest advertisers and marketing partners on Wednesday to try to reassure executives following the raucous developments on the social media site.

The move comes days after Musk – who acquired the company in a $44 billion deal last month – threatened to launch a “thermonuclear name and shame” campaign against advertisers who leave his platform. form.

Musk will speak to a group of vetted announcers on “Twitter Spaces,” a live audio chat feature on the platform. WPP, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies, is among the attendees, according to a person familiar with the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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The topics of discussion are unclear, but last week Musk said Twitter was facing a “massive drop in income” as advertisers paused campaigns on the platform. Since Musk completed his acquisition, reports of hate speech and abuse on Twitter have swelled.

Musk has worked to shore up the company’s revenue streams, cut costs by laying off people, and find new ways to make money as he faces the reality of having to pay around $1. billion a year in interest on the debt he racked up buying Twitter. The vast majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising. A potential recession and rising inflation have already drastically reduced advertising budgets, which now makes for a particularly difficult time for the entire digital advertising industry.

At the same time, advertisers are hypersensitive to the type of content their ads may appear alongside. Musk has repeatedly said he wants to maintain content moderation standards, but by cutting half of the company’s employee activist groups and advertisers have become questionable the company will be able to maintain its standards. when it comes to keeping hate speech and violent and sexual content out of people’s feeds.

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NAACP President Derrick Johnson called on companies to drop their ads on Twitter “until steps are taken to make Twitter a safe space.” Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” accused companies participating in the boycott of “attempting to destroy free speech in America.”

Automakers Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen have all pulled their Twitter ads, along with cereal and snack companies General Mills and Mondelez, the company behind Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers and Sour Patch Kids candy. International advertising and consulting firm Interpublic Group, which represents American Express, Coca-Cola, Fitbit, Spotify and dozens of other big companies, has also advised its clients to suspend purchases of Twitter ads for now. .

“A thermonuclear name and disgrace is exactly what will happen if this continues,” Musk tweeted on Friday as more companies began their publicity releases, threatening to unleash its rambunctious online fans on companies and executives deserting the platform.

During his brief tenure, Musk laid off about half of Twitter’s workforce, decimating content moderation and engineering teams days before Tuesday’s midterm elections. As the company’s remaining staff struggled to cope with complex infrastructure challenges, the company decided to rehire some of these displaced employees.

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Musk intends to sell Twitter’s blue verification badge for $8 a month, he said, but without actually verifying users’ identities, a prospect that could actually cost the company more money. business than it brings in. It also threatens to wreak havoc on a platform that is already battling the proliferation of misinformation, bots and scammers.

Since taking office, Musk has taunted politicians – including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) — on the platform, shared a meme featuring a nazi soldierspread misinformation about the attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and imposed draconian restrictions on parody accounts.

These and other moves by Musk spooked advertisers.

“Advertisers are not manipulated by activist groups, they are constrained by established principles regarding the types of companies they can do business with. These principles include an assessment of the platforms’ commitment to brand safety and appropriateness,” said Lou Paskalis, president of leading marketing firm MMA Global, tweeted at Musk.

Musk blocked Paskalis — then unblocked him — after the trade.

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