According to a report from Media Matters for America, Twitter has placed ads for companies like Nokia, Wall Street Journal, and Mailchimp alongside tweets by Holocaust deniers.
Media Matters examined five accounts on Twitter belonging to neo-Nazis, antisemites, and Holocaust deniers. We found that prominent company ads were appearing next to the tweets. The five Twitter accounts have a range of reach, including writers and a pseudo-academic organization. There are also white nationalist YouTubers.
The subscription service Twitter Blue has been used by all five accounts. It’s one of Elon Musk’s top priorities since he took over the company. Musk announced earlier this month that Blue subscribers would receive a cut from the revenue generated by ads placed under their tweets.
Media Matters is the second report this week on ads appearing alongside troubling content on Twitter.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate’s study, which was conducted on Thursday to find that Twitter is making a profit off ads that are placed alongside accounts previously banned but restored under Musk’s ownership. The CCDH estimates that Twitter’s ad revenue could reach $19 million annually. This includes 10 accounts such as Andrew Tate (misogynistic), Baked Alaska (far-right influencer), and Andrew Anglin (founder of The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website). To estimate the ad revenue, the CCDH used data from analytics firm Brandwatch, tweet impressions, frequency, and ads.
Advertisements from companies that were next to reinstated accounts featured on Apple TV, Amazon, and the NFL. Fiverr also stated it would cease advertising on Twitter, according to The Washington Post.
After Musk’s takeover of Twitter, a key concern for advertisers was that Musk’s “free speech” approach would make the platform less friendly to brands. After Musk’s takeover was finalized, many of the biggest brand agencies advised their clients to halt spending on Twitter last fall. They said it was high-risk.