Twitter advertisers are not happy with ads appearing on pages of white nationalists

Ads for about 40 high-profile brands and organizations have been spotted on the Twitter pages of white nationalists, according to a report by The Washington Post. Advertisements from brands such as Amazon, Uber, Snap and GoDaddy, media companies such as USA Today and Morning Brew, and even one government organization, the US Department of Health and Human Services, were seen on the offending Twitter pages.

The ads were spotted on the profiles of Andrew Anglin and Patrick Casey. Anglin is the editor of the neo-nazi website The daily stormerwhile Casey previously led the white nationalist group Identity Evropa (later renamed the American identity movement). The two were banned from Twitter in 2013 and last year 2019 respectively. Following Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the CEO polled his followers about whether they wanted the platform to offer a “general amnesty” to suspended accounts, with more than 70 percent of respondents voting in favour. Shortly after, Anglin and Casey openly back on the platform.

The Washington Post also reports seeing ads next to posts by white supremacists on pages with names like “No White Guilt Clips” and “White Power Ranger.”

Twitter’s relationship with advertisers is strained under Musk

This is reported by the US Department of Health and Human Services The Washington Post that it would pull its ad from Twitter because “it is incompatible to have it appear on hateful Twitter channels [its] values.” USA Today said it would reach out to Twitter “as this clearly doesn’t match [its] values ​​or mission.”

At the time of writing, no ads appear to be showing on Anglin or Casey’s accounts. That’s what a former Twitter employee told me The Washington Post that Twitter pages should be flagged to prevent advertisements from appearing on them. Twitter did not respond The Verges request for comment, but is widely reported to have disbanded its press team.

The report highlights the tensions created by Elon Musk’s approach to Twitter moderation. Musk has described himself as a free-speech absolutist, and for months leading up to his takeover of Twitter, he expressed that he wanted the platform to take a more lax approach to moderation. When he took control, he wasted no time overturning bans on Donald Trump’s bills and Babylonian Bee. Brands object to their ads appearing next to offensive content, though Musk has tried to reassure advertisers by telling them prior to his takeover that he didn’t want to make Twitter a “free-for-all hellscape.”

In addition, multiple rounds of layoffs at Twitter have gutted critical teams, including the product trust and safety group. (Twitter disputes this, writing in a recent blog post that the team “remains strong and well equipped”). The changes prompted two major ad agencies to recommend that brands pause their ads on the social media network. More recently, however Apple and Amazon are reported to have resumed their Twitter ads.


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