Elon Musk said U.S. ad revenue for X, formerly known as Twitter, was down 60% in a series of tweets Monday, and blamed it on critical statements from the Anti-Defamation League, going so far as to threaten a lawsuit against the group.
Musk said that advertisers have told the company they’re receiving pressure from the ADL, a Jewish non-governmental organization that seeks to fight antisemitism and extremism around the world, to not advertise on X.
He went on to say, “If this continues, we will have no choice but to file a defamation suit against, ironically, the ‘Anti-Defamation’ League.”
This comes after the ADL released multiple reports saying antisemitic posts have spiked on X since Musk purchased the platform, unblocked a number of users who had previously been kicked off the site for violating hate speech policies and loosened the platform’s content moderation policies.
In May, the ADL released a report after monitoring 65 previously banned accounts that Musk had welcomed back to the platform. It found that these accounts were posting antisemitic content and were actually having a compound effect by inspiring antisemitic content among their followers. The organization said it found over 5,000 examples from February 2023 of “virulent antisemitism” posted by 2,173 accounts that followed reinstated accounts. In March, the ADL released a different report revealing that X was not enforcing its own content moderation policies. It noted that 72% of antisemitic tweets that ADL reported as a so-called trusted flagger (an organizational partner that can report content and get it prioritized) were not removed or sanctioned in any way.
Musk has previously criticized the ADL, calling them in a tweet “so aggressive in their demands to ban social media accounts for even minor infractions” and “ironically the biggest generators of anti-Semitism on this platform!”
Musk acquired Twitter in October in a $44 billion deal and has made a number of controversial decisions including renaming it X, changing the verification system to a pay-to-play system and temporarily limiting the amount of tweets users can view in a day. The billionaire owner also dramatically slashed the company’s workforce, citing revenue struggles as the reason for mass layoffs. The company is also facing multiple lawsuits under Musk’s leadership, including over allegations he’s refusing to pay promised severance, that he’s refusing to pay rent and office fees and that the company breached a contract with a regional jet company.
We estimate Musk’s net worth to be $244.8 billion, making him the wealthiest person in the world.
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