January 29, 2023

BUSINESS GENIUS? Musk SCARES OFF Twitter advertisers with erratic policies

AIR BAG: An increasingly paranoid Elon Musk suspends another Twitter account

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$44 billion is a lot to pay for a vanity project like Twitter under Elon Musk. And so far that’s what Musk has on his hands: a $44 billion investment in his own ego that he’s currently driving into the ground.

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Musk has welcomed Donald Trump back to the platform, despite the ex-president having fomented an insurrection that resulted in the deaths of several people and nearly toppled our democracy.

He has brought back Kanye West (Ye), despite blatant antisemitism. And his policies have caused an enormous spike in hate speech on the platform against Jews, the LGBTQ+ community, and others.

Meanwhile, the billionaire owner of Tesla has alienated many, including free speech leftists, LGBTQ+ support groups, and even his own staff, with draconian firings and ultimatums that have caused employees to make for the hills, happy to accept severance packages rather than spend another day under Dear Leader Elon.

Bloomberg estimates that Twitter has lost some 5,000 employees since Musk took over, including many top executives, causing numerous glitches since the platform is so understaffed. Even an entire office in Brussels is now gone.

But it’s not just employees and the civic-minded that have been abandoning in droves.

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Musk has alienated another group as well – one that you would think would be pretty important to him since they’re vital to the platform’s survival — advertisers.

According to a report from Media Matters, fifty of the top hundred advertisers on the platform have entirely halted their spending, and another seven have slowed it to a trickle. Those fifty spent almost $2 billion since 2022, while the other seven spent over $250 million in the same timeframe. That’s $2.25 billion that is on pause right now because they don’t want to take a chance with Elon’s dumpster fire.

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If the spaceman thinks he can make this up by selling check marks or lemonade or whatever else his next brilliant idea may be, he’s become so ungrounded that he may just make it to Mars before SpaceX.

Musk claims to support free speech, but in reality, it’s his own idea of free speech he wants people to embrace:

One in which a person is free to engage in racism, bigotry, and mindless conspiracy theories without any blowback;

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One in which lefties who are “woke” – meaning that they’ve committed the crime of being open-minded and dare to ponder and critique things like inequality, institutional racism, and incorrect historical teachings – are lambasted and even suspended or banned, while people like Ye and Trump and Jordan Peterson are welcomed with open arms.

Musk has made the mistake of misunderstanding what the First Amendment is about: it stipulates that government cannot restrict free speech – not that a publication or platform has to entertain the ramblings of every hateful, half-witted alt-right idiot.

Elon, no one is going to want to stay in your house very long if you keep allowing people to shit in it. And advertisers are no different. Figure it out.

Though Dear Leader of the Twits may not like Ross very much (especially after this), for now, he’s still on Twitter. Follow him there. @RossRosenfeld

Ross Rosenfeld

is a news analysis and opinion writer whose work has also appeared in the New York Daily News and Newsweek. He lives in New York.

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