The new phase that has opened up for Twitter with its purchase by Elon Musk is met with suspicion from two of the six largest advertising groups in the world, as The Wall Street Journal has learned. Interpublic Group (IPG) and Havas Media are advising their clients in the US to stop running campaigns on the platform for the time being, while waiting to see how the changes in content moderation that its new owner has been advancing will play out. The eventual brand safety for many advertisers depends on this policy.
The changes in content moderation that Elon Musk has been advancing for months now create a scenario of uncertainty in terms of brand safety.
In the first case, an internal email accessed by the New York newspaper refers to a study that shows a spike in inappropriate behaviour in recent days and indicates that “the current situation is unpredictable and chaotic, and bad actors and unsafe behaviour can flourish in this scenario. At this point we cannot confidently say that Twitter is a safe place for brands. And in the second, sources familiar with the situation indicate that the advertising conglomerate is concerned about the platform’s ability to monitor the content it hosts.
This warning has not been necessary for General Motors, which days before had already taken the decision to momentarily halt its planning on Twitter to evaluate the new direction it is taking with Musk at the helm. It so happens that the new owner of the social network is also CEO of Tesla, General Motors’ rival in the race to make electric cars widespread, which creates a delicate situation.
These moves coincide in time with the meetings that Musk has begun to hold with executives from major companies, some of which are part of The Global Alliance for Responsible Media. This group, which since 2019 has brought together advertisers, agencies and platforms such as Twitter, was created to fight against inappropriate content on social networks that can affect the reputation of brands that inadvertently advertise with it, and has indicated that it will also be monitoring the evolution of the moderation policy and its possible consequences on the advertising environment.
Industry sources consulted by specialised media point out that the aim of these meetings is to convey a message of reassurance to advertisers that also extends to agencies, as members of Musk’s team are meeting with executives from the main advertising groups. Among them is not Sarah Personette, traditionally one of Twitter’s main interlocutors with the major planners, who has left her position and in a farewell email sent to these executives has clarified that the new owner has not changed anything in relation to content moderation to date.