It’s been less than two months since Elon Musk acquired Twitter for $44 Billion, and it’s been a bumpy ride for Musk, his staff, his ex-staff, and for Twitter users. 14 of the top 50 advertisers on Twitter stopped advertising on the social media app just days after Musk’s somewhat chaotic takeover. Since then, all we could do was sit back and watch Musk’s desperate attempts to drive revenue through mass lay-offs, the introduction of a blue-check verification system (which was subsequently abused), and the repeated shaming of corporations who chose to withdraw from Twitter advertising.
The ostentatious acquisition has led to thousands of businesses abandoning their Twitter campaigns and taking their advertising to other social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook. Twitter’s ad rates are half of what they were pre-takeover yet Musk seems to think he can make up for the shortfall in revenue from Twitter users who are willing to pay $8 a month for Musk’s blue-check verification system.
So why are the advertisers leaving in droves? Simply put, many businesses feel unprotected by the app now that moderation and advertising rules have changed and don’t want to risk reputational crises.
As stated above, Musk has been attempting to construct a subscription-based model in a bid to increase revenue. On November 4th Twitter introduced the new verification method called “Twitter Blue” in which any user can get a blue check for a monthly subscription fee of $8, or $11 if you use Twitter on iPhone. Within 2 days users had began paying the subscription fee to create a number of false “verified” accounts – which of course looked real to the naked eye. These accounts purporting to be verified businesses were posting a number of damaging tweets which involved some prominent advertisers. Eli Lilly was the most famous victim of this event, with their stock price falling by 5% when a fake – yet verified – Eli Lily account posted saying that their insulin would become free to all customers.
Other examples of fake accounts involved Pepsi, Nintendo, Tesla, Nestle, and more. Mere days after introducing the Twitter Blue-Check system, Musk subsequently pulled the subscription service from circulation, but promised it would be back and better than ever once they’d worked out the kinks – and on December 14th 2022, Twitter announced the system is backa and better than before, with a new ‘Twitter Gold’ along side the infamous Twitter Blue.
All over the world, prominent advertising and marketing agencies were advising their clients to shelve or pause Twitter advertising, but Musk’s failed blue check verification debacle isn’t the sole blame for advertisers pausing their advertising campaigns though. Another reason for the mass exodus comes down to the new rules for hate speech, and the lack of moderation on the platform.
Within days of Musk’s take-over, the staff were either leaving in droves or being let go in droves. The staff levels decreased from 7400 to 2,700 in just 3 weeks, wiping out most of Twitter’s content moderators. Along with this, Twitter’s rules and regulations regarding hate speech, harassment, bullying, and misinformation have changed, leaving advertisers vulnerable to attacks under their pages and advertisements. Elon Musk himself began to tweet misinformation which also included an anti-LGBT rumour. Users globally began to test the limits of Twitter’s free speech allowance.
Over the following weeks, a number of prominent ad agencies have advised their clients to put a pause on Twitter advertising. It has been reported that Omnicom, one of the world’s largest ad agencies with over 5,000 global clients, cautioned its clientele about Twitter’s new verification decision. The ad agency cited the departure of top-level executives, brand safety and fake verification accounts among other reasons. Among Omnicom’s clients include McDonald’s, Apple, and Pepsi.
Moderation is vital to the success of an online brand, particularly in advertising, where a company’s content is reaching people of all age, genders, and backgrounds – all over the world. Without a brand-safe environment for businesses, many advertisers won’t feel protected enough to advertise. Advertisers need a way to feel protected when bringing any part of their business to the online world, and RiskEye has just the service to do just that.
RiskEye’s Software With A Service was built for live content moderation across social and mainstream media. This means 24/7 monitoring and moderation of your online channels and alerts to threats, or vital information in real-time. Your social media teams can catch things said to and from you online, but our software allows us to catch vital ‘about’ conversations using keywords and algorithms. Our 24/7 agent centre means that the context of the posts to, from, and about you are understood, which AI alone can’t catch.
Advertising is by far Twitter’s biggest source of revenue, and hopefully, Musk will listen to advertisers and commit to brand safety once again. Nobody knows what lies for the future of the platform, but we do know that the online world is full of visible and invisible risks. You need to have 24-hour-a-day protection in order to safely advertise. Try RiskEye.
RiskEye gives you the power to anticipate, detect, and accommodate issues online in real-time, before they become a threat or harm your business. At RiskEye, we are moving to a time of needing new skills to see this new digital world in a new way. For an insight into online risk and what it means for you, check out our website www.riskeye.com, or email [email protected]. We make social safer!