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WASHINGTON — On Friday, the #StopToxicTwitter coalition, made up of more than 60 civil-rights and civil-society groups, issued an urgent call demanding that all Twitter advertisers pause global ad buys on the platform, full stop. This comes in the wake of Elon Musk’s sweeping layoffs. Throughout the day, a large percentage of Twitter employees have received news that they’ve been fired — making it impossible for the company to uphold critical brand safeguards and content-moderation standards. 

The #StopToxicTwitter coalition announced that the #StopHateforProfit coalition, Voto Latino and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Maria Ressa had joined the effort, expanding the coalition’s global reach. 

In response to the growing momentum for an advertiser pause, Musk tweeted that Twitter “has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers” and claimed that he hadn’t changed the platform’s approach to content moderation. While his tweet acknowledges that the #StopToxicTwitter campaign is working, Musk’s layoffs have seriously impaired Twitter’s ability to maintain the moderation and election-integrity safeguards that were in place before he took over the company.

”Musk’s layoffs betray the promises he made to Free Press, Color Of Change, the NAACP and ADL earlier this week,” said Free Press Co-CEO Jessica J. González. “Retaining and enforcing election-integrity measures requires an investment in the human expert staff, fact-checkers and moderators who are being shown the door today. More than 60 organizations have joined the call to #StopToxicTwitter, pressuring companies globally to cease advertising on the platform. We’re escalating our campaign today in response to Musk’s failure to uphold his commitment to take the measures that would prevent Twitter from becoming a superspreader of racism, antisemitism, misogyny and disenfranchisement.”

“We met with Elon Musk earlier this week to express our profound concerns about some of his plans and the spike in toxic content after his acquisition,” said the leadership of the #StopHateforProfit coalition, which convinced hundreds of advertisers to drop their Facebook ads in late 2020 and pressure the company to do more to curtail the spread of bigotry across its networks. “Since that time, hate and disinformation have continued to proliferate, and Musk has taken actions that make us fear that the worst is yet to come. At this point in time, we are calling on advertisers to pause their spend globally until it becomes clear whether Twitter remains committed to being a safe place for advertisers as well as society overall.”

Earlier this week, the #StopToxicTwitter coalition publicly urged Twitter’s top-20 advertisers to inform Musk that they will suspend all advertising on the platform if he follows through on plans to undermine the social network’s community standards and content moderation. The #StopToxicTwitter campaign is now directing its ask to all Twitter advertisers and urging them to halt all advertising on the platform, here in the United States and globally. Until Musk chooses to invest in and prioritize teams that can robustly enforce Twitter’s existing community standards, the platform will not be safe for users or advertisers. 

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