IBM pulled ads from X: accuses Elon Musk of amplifying anti-Semitism

Elon Musk during a press conference at the SpaceX base, in Brownsville, Texas, USA, on August 25, 2022. The owner of X faces harsh criticism for amplifying anti-Semitism with his platform (Reuters) (ADREES LATIF/ )

IBM said Thursday that it will stop advertising on xbefore Twitterafter a report from a media watchdog organization found that its ads had appeared on the social media site owned by Elon Musk next to pro-nazi tweets.

IBM does not tolerate hate speech or discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this totally unacceptable situation.”the company said in a statement.

The report of the left-wing non-profit organization Media Matters for Americapublished on Thursday, identified IBM as one of several major companies whose ads had appeared alongside tweets that included endorsements of National Socialism, memes describing Nazism as a spiritual awakening, and quotes from Adolf Hitler presented in an inspiring style.

The withdrawal of IBM It is the latest blow to the campaign of the executive director of x, Linda Yaccarinoto attract back advertisers who have fled the site since Musk He bought it a little over a year ago. Although Musk has been successful in its attempt to relax the site’s free speech restrictions, dramatically reducing the staff that used to moderate offensive content, its business has suffered, with financial outlook that insiders have described as dire.

The decision of IBM It occurred a day after Musk would express in Twitter his agreement with an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on the site, prompting fresh criticism from some civil rights leaders.

Musk responded to a user x which said that the rise of anti-Semitism on the Internet was actually the fault of Jews for supporting “hordes of minorities” and promote “hate against whites”. The user said that he has no sympathy for Jews who face hateful comments like “Hitler was right”.

Musk answered: “You have told the pure truth”, helping to amplify the user’s tweet among their vast followers on the Internet. In a later tweet, Musk went on to criticize the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)a nonprofit organization that combats anti-Semitism and extremism, saying that “unfairly attacks the majority of the West” for anti-Jewish hatred instead of “minority groups that are its main threat”.

FILE PHOTO: Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Executive Director Jonathan Greenblatt speaks during the Anti-Defamation League Summit
FILE PHOTO: Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Executive Director Jonathan Greenblatt speaks during the Anti-Defamation League’s “Never Now” Summit at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan in New York City, New York, United States, in November 2022 (Reuters) (JEENAH MOON/)

The CEO of ADL, Jonathan Greenblattcounterattacked Musk in a tweet on Thursday, saying: “At a time when anti-Semitism is exploding in the United States and surging around the world, it is undeniably dangerous to use one’s influence to validate and promote anti-Semitic theories..” ADL is one of a coalition of 60 advocacy groups that have called on major advertisers to boycott the platform until Musk agrees to invest in enforcing the platform’s old content moderation rules.

Musk and x They did not respond to requests for comment Thursday. Without directly mentioning the tweet of Musk, Yaccarino posted a tweet Thursday that seemed aimed at damage control. “X’s point of view has always been very clear that discrimination by everyone must STOP in all areas“, wrote.

Angelo CarusonePresident of Media Matterssaid about the decision of IBM to remove your ads: “Better late than never”. And he added: “It has been an important buyer. He is one of the big buyers who not only has not withdrawn his ads, but has not even suggested” that he was concerned about Musk’s policies.

Carusone He said his organization’s research shows that X cannot deliver on its own promises to let advertisers control the content they advertise alongside. “Extremism, anti-Semitism, white supremacy… it has gone so far that you can’t isolate yourself from it.”.

Civil rights groups and other advocates have taken issue with a wide range of changes that Musk has implemented, including the company’s decision to dismantle its old verification system for high-profile figures in favor of a subscription service. Musk It has also reinstated account users who had been expelled, overturned the company’s rules against misinformation, and gutted the teams in charge of keeping the platform free of toxic content.

What is at stake is both the advertising business of xthat Yaccarino has been struggling to revive, as the increasingly influential role of Musk on the world stage. Musk was scheduled to speak at the summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation this week in San Francisco, but his appearance was canceled on Thursday. A spokesperson for APEC did not respond to a request for comment on whether Musk’s tweets had prompted the cancellation.

Meanwhile, the rise in hate speech and extremist content on x has put mainstream media and civil rights groups in a difficult position. Many of these groups continue to view the platform as a critical forum for sharing and commenting on news, even as they evaluate or criticize attempts to Musk to convert x in a paradise of freedom of expression.

Although the “wrong decisions” of Elon Musk have made “the platform is more toxic and, frankly, a cesspool”, remains more popular than its competitors, said the senior advisor of Free Press, Nora Benavidezwhose group helped organize the advertiser boycott against X.

I think it’s going to take time to abandon Twitter, and we need creators and other users to embrace those alternative platforms”.

The New York Timeswhich has been the subject of harsh criticism from Musknevertheless plans to receive him at its annual conference Dealbook at the end of this month. He Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The ADL is also still present in xdespite Musk has confronted her and even threatened to sue her, alleging that the organization led an advertiser boycott that has undermined X’s business, a claim that ADL has denied. The organization plans to continue advertising on the site, the spokesperson said Jake Hyman Thursday.

The ADL needs our message to reach anti-Semites and extremists and those who may be influenced by them“, said Hyman. “Twitter/X remains a major social media platform with a massive general audience, most of whom do not wish to be exposed to hateful content, including those who are looking for ways to help protect themselves and others from such content..”

On Thursday night, a group of 164 Jewish leaders reiterated their call to major advertisers, including disney, Manzana and amazonso that they stop “finance X through your advertising spend“, and asked Manzana and Google to remove it from their application stores.

None of this is surprising: Musk has been spreading anti-Semitism for years”wrote the religious leaders. “What’s surprising is how many companies and tech leaders are still willing to do business with it”.

(C) The Washington Post.-