ADVISORY: Banners Condemning Musk's Mismanagement of Twitter to Fly Over Miami Ad Conference Before and During Musk Keynote
MIAMI — Today, April 17, and tomorrow, April 18, the #StopToxicTwitter coalition is flying two banners over the POSSIBLE ad convention at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel. The banners will display messages for conference-goers and Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who will participate in a keynote interview before major advertisers at the gathering.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS (to be added in real time after the flights occur)
Monday’s banner reads “Musk is bad for business #StopToxicTwitter” and Tuesday’s will read “Brands deserve better #StopToxicTwitter”.
In advertiser email exchanges revealed by Semafor, executives at Albertsons, Colgate-Palmolive and McDonald’s voiced specific concerns that Twitter’s actions to allow toxicity to engulf the platform have “perpetuat[ed] racism” and resulted in “direct threats to their communities,” “harm or hurt,” “reputational risk” and “potential for brand safety compromise.”
Musk is speaking at the conference in an attempt to woo advertisers back to the platform. More than 600 of Twitter’s top-1,000 advertisers have abandoned the platform, fearing that their brands won’t be safe under Musk’s erratic leadership, which has resulted in a drastic uptick in hate and disinformation on the network, according to multiple surveys. Advertisers’ departures have played a major part in the 70-percent drop in Twitter’s December revenue over the previous year, according to Standard Media Index.
#StopToxicTwitter has led efforts to pressure Musk to prioritize safety and equity by boosting content moderation and enforcement. The #StopToxicTwitter campaign has pressured advertisers to stand up for their customers and values by halting all advertising on the platform unless and until Musk invests in and prioritizes the robust enforcement of common-sense guardrails for the health and safety of users.
A major Center for Countering Digital Hate report revealed that advertisements from top brands run on Twitter adjacent to tweets promoting hate and lies. For example, tweets displaying health misinformation appeared next to ads from Amazon and the NFL — both confirmed to be among the estimated 700 conference attendees.
Soon after taking over the social-media company, Musk announced a “general amnesty” for banned accounts. He reinstated thousands of accounts belonging to prominent neo-Nazis, white nationalists, misogynists, and transphobic and homophobic figures.
WHO: The #StopToxicTwitter campaign, including Free Press, Media Matters for America and Accountable Tech
WHAT: Two banners flown by plane over the POSSIBLE ad convention WHERE: Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel (beachside), 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, Florida
WHEN: First banner on Mon., April 17, from 5 to 6 p.m.: “Musk is bad for business #StopToxicTwitter”; second banner during Elon Musk’s keynote on Tues., April 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: “Brands deserve better #StopToxicTwitter”
“We know advertisers see Twitter for the hellscape it has become under Musk—the real question now is what they’re going to do about it,” said Nora Benavidez, Free Press senior counsel and director of digital justice and civil rights. “These companies have the power to stop bankrolling the intimidation, violence and hate Twitter promotes, and we urge them to use it. The many advertisers that have already left Twitter must not return unless and until Musk makes real assurances that their ad buys won’t underwrite hate and lies. The companies that continue their paid advertising — including Disney, Apple and the NFL — must also stop the flow of their ad dollars to Twitter as long as it continues to harm their customers and endanger the integrity of their brands.”
“Since Elon Musk has taken over Twitter, the company has lost more than half of its top 1,000 advertisers,” said Media Matters President Angelo Carusone. “ Musk is in Miami to beg some of the biggest advertisers who have abandoned Twitter because they recognize it’s not brand-safe under Musk’s leadership. But advertisers beware, Musk has already morphed Twitter into a red-pill Pez dispenser by tinkering with the recommendation algorithm to boost right-wing content and eliminating a wide range of basic brand-safety policies. And all of Twitter’s content problems will get even worse in a few days once Musk removes all legacy verification. Now is not only a bad time to return to Twitter, but it’s also important for any remaining major advertisers to reconsider their buys and stop enabling Musk’s red-pill agenda.”
“Advertisers are seeing Musk’s stunt for what it is — a too-little, too-late attempt to bail out his hellscape of a platform at the expense of their brands,” said Nicole Gill, co-founder and executive director of Accountable Tech. “Since Elon took the helm, Twitter has lost basic functionality, suffered serious security breaches, and has supercharged hate speech and misinformation. Companies are right to stay far away from this mess — and a little schmoozing shouldn’t change that.”