X chief executive Linda Yaccarino has moved to damage control after the social media site’s owner Elon Musk endorsed an antisemitic post on the platform and a media watchdog found advertisements from major brands running next to pro-Nazi content.
The ad executive-turned-CEO wasted no time reassuring advertisers that the company has made “efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination.”
“X’s point of view has always been very clear that discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board — I think that’s something we can and should all agree on,” Yaccarino wrote in a statement shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday.
“When it comes to this platform — X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination. There’s no place for it anywhere in the world — it’s ugly and wrong. Full stop.”
X’s point of view has always been very clear that discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board — I think that’s something we can and should all agree on. When it comes to this platform — X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and…
— Linda Yaccarino (@lindayaX) November 16, 2023
Her post comes just one day after Musk scared advertisers away with his voiced support on the platform for an antisemitic conspiracy theory that accused Jewish people of “pushing…dialectical hatred against whites.”
“You have said the actual truth,” Musk replied.
Less than 24 hours later, X employees told the New York Times that they had gotten calls from advertisers wondering why Musk was making antisemitic comments and why their ads were showing up next to white nationalist and pro-Nazi content.
At the same time, non-profit Media Matters put out a report saying it had found spots from big brands including IBM, Apple, Oracle and Comcast’s Xfinity and Bravo running next to content “that touts Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party”.
In the immediate aftermath, IBM, a major advertiser on X, suspended all its ad spending—about $1 million for the last three months of 2023—on the social media platform. The tech giant explained its decision to the Financial Times, saying it had “zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination.”
Meanwhile, the European Commission advised staff to stop advertising on X due to “an alarming increase in disinformation and hate speech,” as reported by Politico.
X responded, “busy now, please check back later,” to Fortune’s request for comment.
“You should tell your boss”
When Musk acquired X last year, he promised free speech and cut content restrictions, but the move didn’t land well with advertisers, as it coincided with a rise in hate speech and, at least initially, bogus brand accounts. In just the first two weeks after he bought the company, antisemitic posts increased by 61%, according to the Council for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a non-profit that tracks hate speech on the internet.
Yaccarino who used to head up advertising at Comcast’s NBCUniversal, has since been trying to reassure marketers that the company has invested in technology to ensure their spots don’t run next to harmful content—which Musk who is responsible for product and technology, oversees.
In September, she said that 90% of the top 100 advertisers had returned to the platform, though she did not specify whether they were spending the same amount.
However, as X users pointed out, Musk’s latest actions directly undermine her efforts.
“Is the owner of X familiar with this policy?,” one of the most popular comments under Yaccarino’s recent decrying of antisemitism and discrimination at the company, read.
Is the owner of X familiar with this policy?
— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) November 16, 2023
“You should tell your boss,” another echoed.
“I gotta be honest, I’m not really seeing the fight against antisemitism on the website owned by a man who regularly agrees with posts saying Jews are bad,” wrote another.