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A hot potato: IBM has suspended its advertising on former Twitter platform X after a report said one of its ads appeared next to posts that promoted Hitler and the Nazi party. Ads for Apple, TV network Bravo, Oracle, and Xfinity were also placed next to similar content.
A report from nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters highlighted how adverts from the massive tech brands had appeared on X next to content such as memes and posts that tout Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
Comcast, owner of the Xfinity and Bravo brands whose ads also appeared next to the highlighted content, told the Financial Times that it was looking into the situation. Apple and Oracle have yet to comment.
Courtesy of Media Matters
X said that the identified posts will no longer be monetized and be labelled as "Sensitive content," requiring users to acknowledge a warning before viewing them. It said the post next to the IBM ad was "only" seen 8,000 times.
X said in an email to NBC News that Media Matters' investigation was flawed, partly because ads are designed to follow users as they browse the site, so the researcher saw the same ads multiple times in ways others might not.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino has been trying to convince advertisers that the platform is safe for their businesses. Following news of IBM suspending its ads, Yaccarino posted that X is committed to combating antisemitism, but this latest incident isn't going to help convince companies.
X's point of view has always been very clear that discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board – I think that's something we can and should all agree on. When it comes to this platform – X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and…– Linda Yaccarino (@lindayaX) November 16, 2023
Back in June, it was reported that Twitter's ad sales were down 59%, likely due to the increasing amount of hate speech and pornography on the platform.
The mass culling of employees implemented by Elon Musk when he took over Twitter included large portions of the safety and moderation teams. The billionaire has also been allowing previously banned accounts back onto the platform.
Musk is no stranger to delivering controversial content himself. The billionaire is currently facing backlash after posting a positive reply to a message arguing that Jewish communities push hatred against whites. "You have said the actual truth," Musk replied. The billionaire later said his comments referred not to all Jewish people but to groups like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), who he threatened to sue earlier this year, and other unspecified "Jewish communities."