Do You Think Twitter Boycotts Matter? Here is An Interesting Take
While Facebook gets embroiled in an advertiser boycott due to the perceived lack, it has taken on anti-Semitic rhetoric on its platform. Twitter is also facing similar protests, as a group of celebrity users in the United Kingdom went silent for 48 hours over the platform’s perceived lack of action to tackle recent anti-Semitic comments. Ad boycott spreads on social media giant Facebook is spreading, and rival platform Twitter has found itself caught in the crossfire. Starbucks and Coca-Cola announced they were suspending advertising, and sadly for Twitter, the boycott was not limited to social media giant Facebook anymore.
Biggest Brands Called Out A Boycott Of The Social Media Giant
Some of the world’s biggest brands, including Coca-Cola, Disney and Kraft, are facing calls to boycott Twitter if the company’s soon-to-be billionaire, Elon Musk, rolls back content moderation policies that restrict hate speech and election disinformation. The letter, which was first reported by CNN, urged advertisers to make their next advertising deals with Twitter contingent on changes in the platform’s policies under the company’s soon-to-be owner. Elon Musk’s seizure of Twitter means that ads placed on Twitter risk getting associated with a platform that amplifies hate, extremism, health disinformation, and conspiracy theories. Unlike in this campaign, the groups that wrote the letter said advertisers had an opportunity in this time to be more active and strategic since the soon-to-be-owner of the company has already signalled what he plans to do with Twitter.
People Turning Off From The Platform
Some of those who spoke to NBC News about turning off their Twitter accounts told NBC News that they had privacy concerns, what free speech means for Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and how it might be making it possible for hateful and harassing rhetoric to be shared by social media companies. While many on the right applauded the purchase, suggesting that Tesla CEO Elon Musk might be reinstating figures such as former president Donald Trump. Many on the left said they were concerned that Twitter might devolve into even more chaos under Musk. Twitter has expanded its rules around hate speech, including adding more nuances about what is and is not allowed on the app.
In other words, advertisers could wield more power as Twitter moves forward under Musk. Permitting may also deter advertisers from investing their budgets in Twitter. If Twitter were to flip back the dial on content moderation, it could enable the rise of more bullying, violent speech, hate speech, disinformation, and other offensive content.
If Twitter does indeed adjust or revise its moderation policies, reinstating banned users (though not, it seems, Trump) or allowing the re-emergence of hate speech and other dangerous, offensive content, advertisers may be left out. Zerlina acknowledged that some creators depend on the social media company for a portion of their revenue and branding and may not leave the site for good.
In response to Zerlina’s calls for Twitter to boycott, Zerlina said many have told her that they have no intention to return once their accounts get turned off. Zerlina organized the Twitter boycott, asking others on social media to deactivate their accounts, at least temporarily. Left-leaning nongovernmental organizations, with billionaire financier George Soros and a former Clinton operative among their supporters, along with the European Union and Canadian government, are calling for Twitter boycotts should Elon Musk ever gain control of Twitter.
With the advances of Elon Musk becoming increasingly severe with each passing day, Twitter will get forced to reckon with its chronic problems as never before. Either way, the ease in which Elon Musk could buy Twitter, despite a shareholder suit aimed at delaying the deal, should serve as a bellwether.
Many people who don’t agree with Musk’s stated vision for Twitter have said they are leaving the platform. Conservatives are increasingly pledging to abandon Twitter over what they see as its censorship of crucial voices.
If Twitter were to flip back the dial on content moderation, it would likely enable even more bullying, violent speech, hate speech, disinformation, and other offensive content to take root.
It also could deter advertisers from investing their budgets in Twitter. Analyst Ben Thompson said this could remove the pressure from Twitter overrules it sets for what people can post and move its business model away from being dependent on ads. If Twitter does indeed revise its moderation policies, reinstitute banning users (though not Trump) or allow the reintroduction of hate speech and other dangerous, offensive content, advertisers may well pull out.
Activist groups are calling on advertisers to demand Twitter retains its content moderation policies as a non-negotiable condition of doing business with the platform. Twitter has effectively asked users for their input in developing new content guidelines for Twitter. Analysts were skeptical that Twitter users would rush to pay for premium content or features like re-posting posts when social media platforms like Facebook are free.