Leaders of major civil rights groups deny allegations by Elon Musk that they broke an agreement with him by encouraging companies to stop advertising Twitter.
Musk tweeted Tuesday that “a grand coalition of political/social activist groups have agreed not to try to kill Twitter by starving us of ad revenue if I agree to that condition.” They broke the deal.”
Musk did not elaborate on the agreement. He was responding to one of his followers who accused Twitter’s new owner of lying when he vowed in October that he would form a content moderation council and that “no major content decisions or account restorations will take place before that council.” gathers”.
After conducting an informal poll on Twitter over the weekend, Musk and the platform recovered the account of former President Donald Trump, who died after the 6/19 riot at the US Capitol.
Twitter leadership in 2021 feared Trump’s presence and continued use of the site could lead to more violence as he continued to falsely claim the 2020 election had been stolen from him.
Earlier this month, several civil rights groups urged advertisers to stop advertising on Twitter after hate speech surged on the site and the company fired thousands of employees, a move they feared would hurt the company’s ability to hate and moderate other problematic content.
Derrick Johnson, CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Tuesday in response to Musk’s claims that civil rights groups “would never make a deal like this” and that “democracy always comes first.”
“The decisions that are made on Twitter are dangerous, and it is our duty, as we have been since our inception, to speak out against threats to our democracy,” Johnson said. “Hate speech and violent conspiracies cannot have a safe haven.”
In a statement to CNBC, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Free Press echoed Johnson’s sentiments, saying there was “no such deal” with Musk.
“Musk is losing advertisers because he’s acted irresponsibly, slashing content moderation teams that help protect brands and gutting the very sales teams responsible for nurturing advertiser relationships,” the Free Press said in one Explanation. “The primary contributor to the exodus of Twitter advertisers is Elon Musk.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told CNBC that he found Musk’s tweet “vague.” The SWC, along with 180 other NGOs, sent a letter to Musk last week calling on Twitter to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism in order to “impair antisemites’ marketing opportunities on the social media platform.”
Cooper said the letter was “not a threat” and that the groups had not “threatened to boycott” Twitter.
“We’re basically asking Elon Musk, who we all know is quite a creative person, to take the lead in this space,” Cooper said. He said his organization has seen a noticeable surge in anti-Semitic content over the past two weeks.
According to internal CNBC Twitter updates, agencies and brands that stopped advertising on Twitter following Musk’s acquisition are now awaiting updates on corporate governance changes, particularly teams working on brand safety. They also want answers to questions about how Twitter Blue verification will work in the future and how Twitter intends to prevent brand identity theft.
Led by Musk, Twitter rolled out a Twitter Blue Verified subscription service and promptly rolled it back after users who bought the badges were able to impersonate celebrities, politicians and brands. For example, an account modeled after a pharmaceutical company Eli Lilli posted fake tweets that read, “We are pleased to announce that insulin is now free.” The company made efforts to correct the misinformation and have the impersonator’s account suspended.
Advertisers’ concerns are not limited to the issues raised by civil rights activists. They also wanted assurances that Twitter will be safe from hackers given so many employees are quitting or laying off, and they want more communication from the new leadership about changes to the product and the company.
CLOCK: According to Musk, Twitter Blue will be on 11/29