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Elon Musk will host Twitter Spaces with advertisers


Elon Musk is meeting with Twitter’s biggest advertisers and marketing partners on Wednesday The billionaire is trying to keep the organizations that provide his new company with the bulk of its revenue by ditching the platform.

The move comes days after Musk, who acquired Twitter last month for $44 billion, threatened a “thermonuclear name and shame” campaign against advertisers who leave the site because of concerns about its approach to content moderation.

At Twitter’s investor conference in New York on Nov. 4, Elon Musk said the pressure on advertisers by unnamed activists was an “attack on the First Amendment.” (Video: Reuters)

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

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The topics of the discussion are vague, but last week, Musk said Twitter was “having a problem.”a huge drop in revenue” as advertisers stop campaigns on the platform. A group of major advertisers and marketing agencies said they would slow or stop spending on the site while they evaluate how Musk operates the site.

A day before closing the deal, Musk pledged on Twitter to prevent the site from becoming a “free for all hellscape.” But he soon fueled a conspiracy theory about the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband and undermined confidence that advertisers would uphold rules against misinformation and hate speech.

Faced with the reality that he must pay nearly $1 billion a year in interest on the debt accrued when he bought Twitter, Musk has struggled to strengthen the company’s revenue streams, cut costs by laying off people, and find new ways to make money. The vast majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising. A potential recession and rising inflation have already cut deeply into advertising budgets, making it a particularly difficult time for the entire digital advertising industry.

At the same time, advertisers are extremely sensitive to the type of content that can appear next to their ads. Musk has repeatedly said he wants to maintain content moderation standards, but by cutting half of the company’s staff, activist groups and advertisers have questioned whether the company can maintain its standards for keeping hate speech, violence and sexual content out of people’s feeds.

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NAACP President Derrick Johnson called on businesses to take down their Twitter ads “until steps are taken to make Twitter a safer place.” Declaring himself a “free speech absolutist”, Musk accused the companies participating in the boycott of “trying to destroy free speech in America”.

Automakers Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen have pulled Twitter ads, along with cereal and snack companies General Mills and Mondelez, the corporation behind Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers and Sour Patch Kids candies. Interpublic Group, an international advertising and consulting company that represents American Express, Coca-Cola, Fitbit, Spotify and dozens of other large corporations, also advised its clients to stop buying ads on Twitter for the time being.

“The name thermonuclear and if this continues, it’s a shame that will happen” Musk tweeted on Friday As more companies began advertising, businesses and executives abandoning the platform threatened to let go of its rabid online fans.

In short order, Musk laid off nearly half of Twitter’s workforce, cutting content moderation and engineering teams days before Tuesday’s midterm elections. As the company’s remaining employees struggled to cope with complex infrastructure challenges, the company moved to hire some of those displaced workers.

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Musk said Twitter plans to sell its blue verification token for $8 a month, but without actually verifying users’ identities. Critics worry the change will wreak havoc on a platform already battling the spread of disinformation, bots and scammers.

The company said it will instead give officially verified accounts a new badge to let them know they’ve been verified as who they say they are. It began rolling out to government officials, celebrities, news organizations and corporations on Wednesday, but then some people lost the new badges. Musk soon tweeted “killed” and head of Twitter clarified later, the company focused on using them for “government and commercial entities” instead of individuals.

After taking office, Musk mocked politicians – including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.); — made masturbation jokes on the platform, promoted misinformation about an attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and imposed strict restrictions on parody accounts.

These and other actions of Musk scare advertisers.

“Advertisers are not manipulated by activist groups, they are constrained by established principles around the types of companies they can do business with. These principles include evaluating platforms’ commitment to brand safety and compliance,” said Lou Pascalis, president of major marketing firm MMA Global. Musk tweeted.

Musk blocked Pascalis after the exchange, then unblocked him.

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