Advertisers Hesitate to Return to X Following Musk’s Remarks

On Thursday, advertisers said they are unlikely to resume spending on X, the social media company that was formerly known as Twitter, after the company’s owner, Elon Musk, insulted brands and told them not to spend on the platform. At least six marketing agencies reported that the brands they represent are standing firm in their decision not to advertise on X. Some of the spending pauses by advertisers are expected to become permanent freezes, given Mr. Musk’s comments. Lou Paskalis, the founder of AJL Advisory, said that advertisers are “not coming back” to X due to the reputational risk.

More than 200 advertisers had stopped their spending on X in recent weeks after Mr. Musk endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory. This puts the company at risk of losing up to $75 million this quarter. Mr. Musk’s recent incendiary comments against advertisers have compounded the situation, despite efforts by X’s chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, to mitigate the damage. Ruben Schreurs, the chief strategy officer at Ebiquity, said advertisers are unlikely to support X’s views on free speech.

It appears that advertisers are unlikely to consider returning to the platform unless there is a leadership change or a change of control at the company. The end of the year has historically been lucrative for X, and with many major advertisers pulling out, it is uncertain how the company will cope. Mr. Musk has dismissed advertisers’ concerns, which has led them to view him as a risky partner. Steve Boehler, the founder of the marketing management consultancy Mercer Island Group, said that Mr. Musk’s comments suggest an “outrageous amount of uncertainty” regarding his platform and advertisers. He also believes that this issue is personal, as businesses are made up of people who want to be treated well and respected.

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