IBM said on Thursday that it has stopped advertising on Elon Musk’s platform X because its ads were shown next to pro-Nazi posts.
IBM’s decision came as X owner Elon Musk faced criticism for endorsing an unfounded antisemitic conspiracy theory on the platform, which falsely claimed that members of the Jewish community were stoking hatred against white people.
Nonprofit Media Matters reported on Thursday that it found Apple, Oracle, and IBM ads displayed next to posts touting Hitler and the Nazi Party on X, reports the France24.
„During all of this Musk-induced chaos, corporate advertisements have also been appearing on pro-Hitler, Holocaust denial, white nationalist, pro-violence, and neo-Nazi accounts,” Media Matters said in a post displaying samples of what it found at X.
In response to an AFP inquiry, the New York-based tech firm said, „IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination, and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation.”
An X executive told AFP that it did a „sweep” of accounts pointed out by Media Matters, and they will no longer be able to make money from ads. According to the executive, the posts themselves will be labelled as „sensitive media.”
„Ads follow the people on X, in this case, the Media Matter’s researcher that was going to actively look for this content – that’s how user targeting works,” the executive said in an emailed reply.
Since taking over Twitter, now rebranded as X, Musk has gutted content moderation, restored accounts of previously banned extremists, and allowed users to purchase account verification, helping them profit from viral – but often inaccurate – posts. Musk has also promoted Community Notes, in which X users police the platform, as a tool to combat misinformation.
A recent study by the disinformation monitoring group NewsGuard found that paying subscribers at X were the biggest spreaders of misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war.
Photo credit: Daniel Oberhaus