IBM said it was immediately pulling advertising from Elon Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter, after a report found that ads for the tech giant had appeared next to posts supporting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
“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,” a company rep said in a statement to Variety. The news was first reported Thursday by the Financial Times.
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IBM was among five major brands that progressive watchdog group Media Matters said it had found ads for adjacent to posts that “tout Hitler and his Nazi Party” on X. The others were Apple, NBCUniversal’s Bravo, Oracle and Comcast’s Xfinity.
Separately, Musk earlier Thursday, in response to someone who posted on X that “Everyone is allowed to be proud of their race, except for white people, because we’ve been brainwashed into believing that our history was somehow “worse” than that of other races,” said that was “super messed up” and added, “Time for this nonsense to end and shame ANYONE who perpetuates these lies!”
That came after Musk on Wednesday agreed with a different X user who promoted the conspiracy theory that Jewish communities “have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” The X user said they were “deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest shit now about western Jewish populations” who are facing “hordes of minorities that support flooding their country.” To that, Musk commented, “You have said the actual truth.” CNN anchor Jake Tapper posted a screenshot of the exchange, with the comment, “Elon Musk pushing unvarnished anti semitism at a time of rising antisemitism and violence against Jews.”
Elon Musk pushing unvarnished anti semitism at a time of rising antisemitism and violence against Jews pic.twitter.com/N5bSQxWsr9
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 15, 2023
Meanwhile, Musk in May 2023 wrote on Twitter, “Soros reminds me of Magneto,” comparing billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros to the Jewish supervillain from Marvel’s X-Men series. Musk said Soros, like Magneto, “wants to erode the very fabric of civilization. Soros hates humanity.” Musk’s comparison of Soros to Magneto drew a rebuke from Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who noted, “Soros often is held up by the far-right, using antisemitic tropes, as the source of the world’s problems.”
In a post Thursday afternoon, X CEO Linda Yaccarino, whom Musk recruited away from NBCUniversal, wrote, “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 discrimination. There’s no place for it anywhere in the world — it’s ugly and wrong. Full stop.”
Last month, X notified employees eligible for stock grants that they would receive shares at a valuation of $19 billion — less than half the $44 billion that Musk had been dragged into court to pay for Twitter.
According to Musk, advertising revenue at X/Twitter has plummeted as much as 60% since he closed the deal for the social network despite his promise to marketers that he would not turn Twitter into a “free-for-all hellscape.” Advertisers have been alarmed over reports of the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation on X/Twitter, and they’ve been skittish over some of the changes Musk has implemented, such as his move to reinstate thousands of formerly banned accounts including Donald Trump’s.
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