Once again, Elon Musk does not have his tongue in his pocket. The boss of X (formerly Twitter) estimated this Wednesday that the boycott of the social network by advertisers could “kill” the platform. He apologized after a controversial tweet while advising these companies… to “go fuck themselves”. Several large American companies, notably Apple, the cable operator Comcast and Disney, have in fact suspended the broadcast of their advertisements on X after Elon Musk relayed an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on the site.
They joined other advertisers who had already deserted the platform after the media observatory Media Matters noted that advertisements for prominent brands had appeared on a neo-Nazi account. “I’m sorry for this message,” said Elon Musk, regarding his publication accused of anti-Semitism, during a public interview as part of the DealBook Summit event, organized by the New York Times. “It was stupid of me,” he continued. “Of the 30,000 (posts posted by the contractor), this is perhaps the worst and stupidest I have ever posted. »
” Screw you. Is that clear ? »
In this message, Elon Musk responded to a tweet claiming that Jewish people encouraged “hatred against white people”: “You told the exact truth.” However, the businessman had very harsh words for the advertisers who chose to suspend their advertisements on X, accusing them of “trying to blackmail (him)”. ” Screw you. Is that clear ? »
Immediately after this sentence, Elon Musk pretended to greet Disney CEO (“Hi Bob!”) Bob Iger, whose group is among the companies affected and who had been interviewed earlier at the same event in New York. The boss of the entertainment giant justified, on this occasion, the group’s decision. Being associated with this tweet in one way or another “wasn’t for us,” according to Bob Iger.
“I hope they will stop” buying promotional space on the social network, he proclaimed to the advertisers who are now withdrawn. “Don’t advertise,” he told them. “What will happen is that this boycott will kill the company,” warned Elon Musk. “And the whole world will know that these advertisers killed the business.” » Almost entirely dependent on advertising, even though it recently launched paid plans, X was already in a bad position even before this new controversy.
According to the firm Guideline, revenues from advertisers had already fallen by 54% between September 2022 and August 2023. According to documents consulted by the New York Times, the recent wave of advertiser withdrawals could deprive the old Twitter of 75 million dollars in turnover.
45% drop in users
This Wednesday, Elon Musk suggested that he would not put his hand in his pocket to prevent the group, which he bought in October 2022, from going under. “If the company fails because of an advertiser boycott, it will go bankrupt,” he insisted. According to market data analytics company SensorTower, X’s monthly user count is down 45% at the start of the fourth quarter compared to the same period in 2022.
The majority shareholder defended the management of content on X, while many observers warn of the increase in the proportion of hateful messages or disinformation since its takeover. “It’s quite rare for hateful content to be highlighted,” according to Elon Musk. “If you analyze the platform today compared to a year ago, I think it’s much better. » “My aspiration is that the X platform is the best source of truth, or at least the one that is the least inaccurate,” explained the South African native.
Highly criticized, even by the White House, for his controversial tweet, Elon Musk went to Israel at the beginning of the week, where he visited, in the company of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Kibbutz Kfar Aza, attacked on the 7th. October by fighters from the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas. “I am not anti-Semitic,” he insisted. “I’m more of a philo-Semite. »
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