Elon Musk to advertising customers: "Go fuck yourself"
The social media platform X loses advertising revenue because owner Elon Musk labelled an anti-Semitic post as "truth". In an interview, the richest man in the world takes a verbal swipe.
X owner Elon Musk gave an interview at the DealBook conference in New York on Wednesday. He addressed the advertisers who have withdrawn from the social media platform: "If someone tries to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money - fuck you. Fuck you. Is that clear? I hope it's clear." He explicitly addressed the insult to Disney CEO Bob Iger, among others.
Interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin then asked Musk what X CEO Linda Yaccarino should do to keep the platform alive. Musk made it clear that X is absolutely dependent on advertising money: "This boycott will kill the company." The advertisers would have to explain to the whole world that they are responsible for this. Musk himself seems prepared to accept a financial failure on the part of X.
Large companies such as IBM, Disney and Apple have paused their advertising campaigns on X until further notice. This comes after Musk labelled an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory as "the actual truth". The post, which has since been deleted, included statements according to which Jewish organisations spread hatred against white people.
Musk was alternately defiant and remorseful during the interview. He said that, in retrospect, he shouldn't have responded to the post. "Basically, I put a loaded gun in the hands of those who hate me, and arguably those who are anti-Semitic, and I'm very sorry for that. That was not my intention." However, his visit to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a few days ago was "not an apology tour".
Up to 75 million in lost revenue
Musk's social media platform could lose up to 75 million US dollars in advertising revenue by the end of the year because of the affair, as reported by the "New York Times", citing internal documents https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/24/business/x-elon-musk-advertisers.html. The figure is far higher than the one X communicated to the outside world. In a statement, the company only spoke of a default risk of 11 million US dollars.
According to the documents, there are now over 100 companies that no longer advertise on X. These include Airbnb, Amazon, Coca-Cola and Microsoft. The timing for the withdrawal of customers is extremely bad: the last few months of the year are among the most important.Cover image: Shutterstock / Frederic Legrand - COMEO