By: Aviel Parente  | 

Elon Musk Faces Advertiser Boycott Amid ‘X’ Controversy

In recent weeks, Elon Musk, owner of social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, has found himself at the center of a growing controversy surrounding his social media platform. The uproar began when Musk liked a post deemed by many as antisemitic, leading to condemnation from various quarters, including the White House.

Major companies, such as IBM and Disney, initiated an advertiser boycott of X following reports of their ads appearing alongside controversial content on the platform. This move sparked heated remarks from both advertisers as well as Musk, with the billionaire entrepreneur delivering a fiery response during an interview at The New York Times DealBook Summit. “I hope they stop,” Musk said about boycotting companies. “Don’t advertise.” 

“You don’t want them to advertise?” the host responded “No,” Musk answered in return. “If somebody’s gonna try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go f— yourself. Go. F—. Yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is. Hey, Bob [Iger], I’m sure you’re in the audience.”

Despite X CEO Linda Yaccarino's attempts to address concerns and emphasize the platform's commitment to combating hate speech, Musk's confrontational stance has deepened the divide. Musk's refusal to back down and his assertion that the advertiser boycott will lead to X's demise have further fueled the controversy: “What this advertising boycott is going to do is it’s going to kill the company,” he said. “And the whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company and we will document it in great detail.”

The host responded by saying that advertisers will blame Musk. Musk quipped back: “Oh, yeah? Tell it to earth.” The interviewer continued, “But they’re going to say, ‘Elon, you killed the company because you said these things, and that they were inappropriate things. And they didn’t feel comfortable on the platform.'” “And let’s see how Earth responds to that,” Musk responded.

Supporters argue that Musk's unapologetic approach aligns with his commitment to free speech, portraying him as a defender of open dialogue on social media. They contend that the advertiser boycott infringes on the platform's independence and highlights the challenges faced by tech giants grappling with content moderation.

As the controversy unfolds, the impact on X's reputation, user base and advertising revenue remains uncertain. Musk's steadfast position may resonate with those who value unrestricted speech, but it brings up issues regarding politics within corporate America, particularly raising questions about the delicate balance between responsible platform management and free expression.


Photo Caption: ‘X’ advertiser boycott stirs up controversy.

Photo Credit: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash