The Washington Post (via The Verge) reported that some 40 high-profile brands and organizations have complained, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Amazon, Uber, Snap, GoDaddy, USA Today and Morning Brew.
Ads for some of these organizations were spotted on the Twitter profiles of Andrew Anglin, the editor of neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, and Patrick Casey, who previously led the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, later rebranded as the American Identity Movement. Bother Anglin and Casey had their accounts banned from Twitter in 2013 and 2019, respectively. However, after Elon Musk took over Twitter and granted a “general amnesty,” both returned to the platform.
Moreover, The Washington Post reported seeing ads alongside white supremacist posts on Twitter pages with names like “No White Guilt Clips” and “White Power Ranger.”
It’s worth noting that the ads no longer appear on Anglin’s or Casey’s accounts. A Twitter employee told The Washington Post that Twitter pages must be flagged to prevent advertising from appearing on them. Twitter didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Verge or The Washington Post, but that might have something to do with Musk reportedly firing most of the company’s press team.
Speaking of layoffs, if Twitter relies on a system of flagging accounts to prevent advertising from appearing on them, it’s highly likely Anglin, Casey, and others slipped through the cracks. With Musk’s general amnesty allowing thousands of accounts to return to the platform and Twitter operating with a skeleton crew, there just might not be enough people flagging problematic accounts.
The HHS told The Washington Post that it would pull ads from Twitter since “having [ads] appear on hateful Twitter channels is inconsistent with [its] values.” Similarly, USA Today said it would contact Twitter because the content “obviously does not align with [its] values or mission.”
Ultimately, it seems like those who have resumed ads on Twitter (or who never stopped advertising in the first place) may be running into the problems that led several brands and advertising agencies to pull out of Twitter in the first place. After Musk’s takeover, he tweeted that Twitter’s ad revenue had fallen and blamed activists for it. Later, ad agencies labelled Twitter “high risk” as they bailed on the platform. Musk, however, continued blaming activists for the consequences of his own actions.
You can follow the ongoing Twitter saga here.