Twitter was once the place where major brands promoted new products, responded to customer complaints and respected their image. But less than three weeks after being owned by Elon Musk, the social media service is now viewed as “high risk” by a major advertising company — and other big brands are continuing to bail.
Luxury fashion brand Balenciaga, the latest high-profile company to back down from the social media service amid several problems led by Musk, deleted its Twitter account this week. According to the Washington Post, Eli Lilly has withdrawn its ad from Twitter after a fake account tweeted that it was making its insulin products free. That fake tweet caused Eli Lilly’s stock to drop and renewed focus on the high price of insulin.
And Group M, the world’s biggest media buyer, is now warning its customers that advertising on Twitter is a “high risk,” Group M executives confirmed. Group M works with brands such as Google, Ford and Coca-Cola to buy ads in media services, which represent 1 in every 3 ads globally.
Twitter’s arc of transformation since Elon Musk bought the company on October 27 has been playing out as a cautionary tale about how pride and quick judgment can undermine the company’s core business — in this case, advertising. Musk wants to boost the service’s subscription revenue, but Twitter still relies on advertising for 90% of its sales. And so far, his leadership is risking Twitter’s $4.5 billion in annual ad revenue from big brand names like Eli Lilly, Oreo and General Motors.
“Corporate America is very, very nervous,” said Eric Yaverbaum, CEO of Erics Communications and a brand and public relations specialist. “They’re talking behind closed doors about: ‘How do we handle this? Do we want to be participative?'”
He said Twitter has become the “wild, wild west”.
Several major advertisers have halted or pulled their ad revenue from Twitter amid confusion over Musk’s plans for the service’s blue check mark — which once signified that an account was verified — and a,
Playbill, a news outlet and guide for the Broadway theater community and theater-goers, on FridayIt left Twitter because the social media platform “has greatly expanded its tolerance for hate, negativity and misinformation.”
including advertisersAllianz, Audi, General Mills, GM, United Airlines and Pfizer have halted their ads on the platform, leading to a for the company.
One of the most damaging Twitter-related brand snapping occurred on November 10, when an account pretending to be Eli Lilly’s corporate account – with a newly purchased blue “Verified” checkmark – tweeted: “We Excited to announce that insulin is free now.”
Eli Lilly: “Working to Fix the Situation”
The fake Eli Lilly account looked genuine enough that the spoofed tweet is credited with causing a 4.5% drop in the company’s stock.
At the heart of the problem is Musk’s new business plan to make more subscription revenue: Transform your current free “blue check,” which shows the authenticity of an account, into a payment-based service available to anyone.
This opened the door for pranksters and scammers to pay $8 per month to put a “verified” blue check next to a fake Twitter handle and then masquerade as another person or brand. Along with the Eli Lilly spoofs, fake accounts surfaced to imitate Tesla, Lockheed Martin and Nestle, among others.
Following the fake insulin tweet, the original Eli Lilly account issued a clarification: “We apologize to those who have been given a misleading message from the fake Lilly account. Our official Twitter account is @lily pad,
According to the Washington Post, Eli Lilly executives then halted all Twitter ad campaigns. When asked by CBS Moneywatch whether it has suspended advertising on Twitter, the drugmaker said, “In recent days, fake/parody Twitter accounts for Lilly have provided false information and we are working to correct this situation.” continue to work for.”
Musk, for his part, has vowed to improve the situation. On Sunday, he tweeted, “Twitter will enable organizations to identify exactly which other Twitter accounts are linked to them.”
Musk: the activist who destroyed “free speech”
Meanwhile, Musk is blaming activists he says are intimidatingAs he moves fast to make his mark on the social media platform.
In a tweet on Nov. 4, Musk said, “Greatly messed up! They’re trying to destroy freedom of expression in America.”
But brands are withdrawing from Twitter because of concerns about damage to their credibility on a platform where fraud and hate speech are on the rise. Musk’s whiplash business decisions are also worrying for brands that prize consistency and predictability. As for free speech, the First Amendment applies only to the government’s control over speech. Private businesses are free to make their own decisions about how and where to spend their advertising dollars.
“Elon himself has no one to blame at this time,” Yeverbaum said. “The rules change from day to day, and that’s not what brands want.”
Group M, the world’s largest media buyer, said in an internal document that a number of things would have to change on Twitter to reverse its “high risk” label, according to Digiday, which published the document. Twitter will need to redeploy senior IT security, privacy, trust and security staff, as well as establish internal checks and balances, it noted.
It also wants “complete transparency” about content moderation, community guidelines, and development plans for anything that affects brand safety or user safety. It also seeks content moderation and a commitment to enforce rules against fake accounts.
It’s not too late for Twitter to stabilize itself and convince advertisers to return, Yeverbaum noted. “There are a lot of people who are just holding on because they love Twitter,” he said.