Volkswagen, Pfizer And Now, General Mills Taps On the Brakes as Advertiser Pause Widens

    Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest carmaker, joined Pfizer Inc. and General Mills Inc. in temporarily pausing advertising on Twitter.

    | Updated on: Nov 04 2022, 18:14 IST
    When Elon Musk tweet sparked horror online abuse against Vijaya Gadde at Twitter
    Vijaya Gadde
    1/6 Elon Musk tweet back in April had sparked a storm against Twitter's Vijaya Gadde. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO’s previous tweets have caused a controversy following his completed takeover of Twitter. (PowerfulJRE YouTube)
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    2/6 Elon Musk’s old tweets about Twitter’s top lawyer Vijaya Gadde are back in the spotlight after he took a bold step on his first day as the new owner of Twitter by firing Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde. (Wikimedia Commons)
    Elon Musk Twitter deal
    3/6 Musk was responding to a tweet from Saagar Enjeti, host of a political podcast and called the move “incredibly inappropriate.” According to Bloomberg, while Musk didn't identify Gadde by name, the post was in response to an article in which she was mentioned. (AFP)
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    4/6 Enjeti tweeted on April 27, “Vijaya Gadde, the top censorship advocate at Twitter who famously gaslit the world on Joe Rogan's podcast and censored the Hunter Biden laptop story, is very upset about the @elonmusk takeover.” (Breaking Points/YouTube)
    Elon Musk
    5/6 Musk has frequently used the social media platform as a way to criticize the company’s decisions, especially when they involve banning accounts from people who violate Twitter's rules and policies. Twitter has banned people like American rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West due a couple of anti-semitic tweets recently. (PTI)
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    6/6 A flurry of negative, and even abusive tweets from Twitter users followed Musk’s comments directed at Gadde. Racist slurs were tweeted referencing Gadde’s Indian heritage, with words like “curry” used to target the Twitter lawyer. Users questioned Gadde and blamed that she “destroyed countless @Twitter accounts for speaking the truth.” Racist comments were even hurled at ex-Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal. (AFP)
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    Multiple big name companies temporarily pause advertising on Twitter as Elon Musk makes big changes around the office. (AP)

    Volkswagen AG, Europe's largest carmaker, joined Pfizer Inc. and General Mills Inc. in temporarily pausing advertising on Twitter as brands rethink their presence on the platform now that Elon Musk has taken over and is making his mark on the social media company.

    Volkswagen said Friday that it had advised all of its brands to pause spending on the platform “until further notice” while it monitors how Twitter evolves.

    Brands are concerned that Twitter could host more-objectionable content as Musk rethinks his approach to content moderation, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter it didn't name. Others are stepping back amid uncertainty at the top of the company, including the departure of some key executives. General Motors Co. said last week that it was suspending advertising on Twitter.

    “We have paused advertising on Twitter,” said Kelsey Roemhildt, a spokesperson for General Mills. “As always, we will continue to monitor this new direction and evaluate our marketing spend.”

    A spokesman for Twitter didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Bloomberg.

    Advertising mogul Martin Sorrell, chairman of S4 Capital Plc, said his firm is advising clients to adopt a “wait-and-see” approach to the platform. Rivals such as agency holding company Interpublic Group of Cos. have advised pausing Twitter marketing, Variety reported earlier this week.

    “Clients don't want conflict, they don't want controversy,” Sorrell said in a Bloomberg TV interview at the Web Summit in Lisbon on Thursday. “They want a stable environment, and what we've seen in the last week or so is too much inconsistency.”

    Twitter only accounts for about 1% of global digital media, Sorrell said. But Twitter relies on advertising for the bulk of its revenue. Last week Musk tweeted an open letter to marketers in which he said he wants to make Twitter “the most respected advertising platform in the world.”

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    First Published Date: 04 Nov, 18:14 IST