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Disney among companies suspending X advertising in wake of antisemitic Elon Musk post

Advertisers are fleeing social media platform X over concerns about their ads showing up next to pro-Nazi content and hate speech on the site in general, with billionaire owner Elon Musk inflaming tensions with his own posts endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

Post falsely claimed some in Jewish community stoking hatred against white people

A person props up their chin with their fist.

Advertisers are fleeing social media platform X over concerns about their ads showing up next to pro-Nazi content and hate speech on the site in general, with billionaire owner Elon Musk inflaming tensions with his own posts endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

IBM announced this week that it stopped advertising on X after a report said its ads were appearing alongside material praising Nazis — a fresh setback as the platform formerly known as Twitter tries to win back big brands and their ad dollars, X's main source of revenue.

The liberal advocacy group Media Matters said in a report Thursday that ads from Apple, Oracle, NBCUniversal's Bravo network and Comcast were also placed next to antisemitic material on X.

"IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation," the company said in a statement.

Apple, Oracle, NBCUniversal and Comcast didn't respond immediately to requests seeking comment on their next steps.

A close of up a screen shows the page for an Elon Musk social media account.

Walt Disney Co. said on Friday it has paused advertising on X, while Axios reported that Apple has done the same.

The European Union's executive branch said separately on Friday that it's pausing its advertising on X and other social media platforms, in part because of a surge in hate speech.

'Antisemitic and racist' social media post

Musk sparked outcry this week with his own post on X responding to a user who referenced the "great replacement" conspiracy theory was speaking "the actual truth."

On Wednesday, Musk agreed with an X post that falsely claimed Jewish people were stoking hatred against white people. That conspiracy theory holds that Jewish people and leftists are engineering the ethnic and cultural replacement of white populations with non-white immigrants that will lead to a "white genocide."

The White House on Friday accused Musk of repeating a "hideous" antisemitic lie on X, calling it an "abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate" that "runs against our core values as Americans."

"It is unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of antisemitism in American history at any time, let alone one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust," White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement, responding to Musk's post and referring to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

Musk has faced accusations of tolerating antisemitic messages on the platform since purchasing it last year, and the content on X has gained increased scrutiny since the war between Israel and Hamas began.

X CEO Linda Yaccarino said the company'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," she posted on Thursday.

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…

—@lindayaX

Yaccarino, a former NBCUniversal executive, was hired by Musk to rebuild ties with advertisers who fled after he took over, concerned that his easing of content restrictions was allowing hateful and toxic speech to flourish and that would harm their brands.

"When it comes to this platform, X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination. There's no place for it anywhere in the world. It's ugly and wrong — full stop," Yaccarino said.

According to a statement from X, the accounts that Media Matters found posting antisemitic material will no longer be monetizable and the specific posts will be labelled "sensitive media." Still, Musk decried Media Matters as "an evil organization."

WATCH | Why there's a surge of online hate:

Explosion of hate across social media platforms

6 hours ago

Duration 2:14

Featured VideoSocial media users from TikTok to X are being exposed to a deluge of different Islamophobic and antisemitic tropes — some of them perpetuated by people like Elon Musk, the owner of X.

The head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also hit back at Musk's posts this week in the latest clash between the prominent Jewish civil rights organization and the billionaire businessman.

"At a time when antisemitism is exploding in America and surging around the world, it is indisputably dangerous to use one's influence to validate and promote antisemitic theories," ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said on X.

Musk also posted on X this week that he was "deeply offended by ADL's messaging and any other groups who push de facto anti-white racism or anti-Asian racism or racism of any kind."

The group has previously accused Musk of allowing antisemitism and hate speech to spread on the platform and amplifying the messages of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who want to ban the ADL.

As the backlash grows, Musk declared on Friday those posting on X with the terms "decolonization" and "from the river to the sea" — a phrase Jewish groups have described as antisemitic — are using euphemisms that "necessarily imply genocide," which could "result in suspension."

'Alarming increase' in disinformation, hate speech

The European Commission, meanwhile, said it's putting all of its social media ad efforts on hold because of an "alarming increase in disinformation and hate speech" on platforms in recent weeks.

The commission, the 27-nation EU's executive arm, said it's advising its services to "refrain from advertising at this stage on social media platforms where such content is present," adding the freeze doesn't affect its official accounts on X.

The EU has taken a tough stance with new rules to clean up social media platforms, and last month it made a formal request to X for information about its handling of hate speech, misinformation and violent terrorist content related to the Israel-Hamas war.

WATCH | Why there's a flood of misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war:

Why there’s a flood of misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war

21 days ago

Duration 4:08

Featured Video'I have never seen this amount of misinformation and disinformation surrounding a conflict,' said Layla Mashkoor, a Dubai-based associate editor at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab in Washington, D.C. Misinformation experts say X, formerly known as Twitter, has played a key role in the volume of false information surrounding the Israel-Hamas war.

X isn't alone in dealing with problematic content since the conflict.

On Thursday, TikTok removed the hashtag #lettertoamerica after users on the app posted sympathetic videos about Osama bin Laden's 2002 letter justifying the terrorist attacks against Americans on 9/11 and criticizing U.S. support for Israel.

The Guardian news outlet, which published the transcript of the letter that was being shared, took it down and replaced it with a statement that directed readers to a news article from 2002 that it said provided more context.

The videos garnered widespread attention among X users critical of TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance. TikTok said the letter was not a trend on its platform and blamed an X post by journalist Yashar Ali and media coverage for drawing more engagement to the hashtag.

The short-form video app has faced criticism from Republicans and others who say the platform has been failing to protect Jewish users from harassment and pushing pro-Palestinian content to viewers.

TikTok has aggressively pushed back, saying it's been taking down antisemitic content and doesn't manipulate its algorithm to take sides.

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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