Nov 21 (Reuters) – A coalition of human rights activists urged Twitter advertisers on Monday to release a statement about removing their ads from the social media platform after a ban on tweets was lifted by the US President Donald Trump, Elon Musk, owner.
Trump’s account, which was suspended by Twitter after the riots at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, was restored over the weekend due to the possibility of further violence. 90% of Twitter’s revenue comes from digital ad sales.
Groups in the Stop Toxic Twitter coalition complained that Musk had promised advertisers that Twitter would take an approach to reinstating banned accounts and put together a new content editing board. As of Monday, the council has not yet been formed.
“This is a violation,” Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, a left-leaning media watchdog that is part of the coalition, said Monday. He said Musk “has lied from the beginning.”
“In less than three weeks, Musk has gone back on all the promises he made to leaders and advertisers about civil rights,” said Jessica Gonzalez, chief executive of the media and democracy group. Free Press, which is also in partnership with Twitter. press release.
Twitter, which lost most of its communications team when Musk cut staff shortly after taking over, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This month, Musk complained that pressure from activists had already caused a “significant decrease in revenue”.
Twitter began restoring banned or suspended accounts late last week, including comedian Kathy Griffin and Trump.
The platform also restored the personal Twitter account of House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene on Monday.
Of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers by total spend this year, 51 have suspended ads according to private conversations with the coalition, public statements or spend data provided by the ad measurement company Pathmatics, Carusone said.
The coalition is asking the brands that did not announce the stop on Twitter to issue a public statement and help pressure the other 49 advertisers who did not take action, he said.
“You have to stand up and draw the line,” Carusone said. “It’s important for high spenders to say they’ve stopped.”
The coalition will review the companies’ names this week if they haven’t issued a public statement about the ad suspension, he said.
Musk tweeted on Saturday that Twitter would restore the former president’s account after a majority voted yes in Musk’s poll on the issue.
The name at the top of the list of top advertisers on Twitter changed in the week before Musk closed the deal to acquire the company. Major brands HBO and Mondelez were the top two advertisers on Twitter in the week before the acquisition, according to data from Pathmatics. But between November 10 and November 16, after Musk fired half of Twitter’s staff, the two biggest advertisers were FinanceBuzz.io, a personal finance website, and Trendytowns, a website e-commerce based in Singapore.
Pathmatics data showed that the top 100 advertisers between November 10 and November 16 spent an average of $23.6 million on Twitter, down from $24. 2 million were spent between October 16 and October 22 before Musk became the owner of Twitter.
Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas; edited by Kenneth Li and David Gregorio
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