Ads from at least 19 brands appeared alongside a pro-Hitler account on X, formerly known as Twitter. Two of those brands have now suspended advertising on the platform. X has now deleted the account.
Why we care. X’s new CEO Linda Yaccarino told CNBC just last week that brands are “protected from the risk of being next to” potentially toxic content and “your ads will only air next to content that is appropriate for you.” Clearly, that’s not the case. X may say its platform is committed to brand safety, but it still has work to do.
What happened. Media Matters for America published this report detailing how X has been placing ads for brands on a verified pro-Adolf Hitler account with thousands of followers. The nonprofit watchdog group also included multiple screenshots showing the promoted posts.
- “The company continues to monetize the openly antisemitic account despite reportedly acknowledging it had violated the platform’s ‘rules against violent speech,’” Media Matters reported.
Unsafe brands. Ads from the following brands were shown alongside the pro-fascist content:
- Action Network
- Atlanta Falcons
- Corn Nuts / Hormel Foods
- FIFA Women’s World Cup
- Gilead Sciences
- NCTA-The Internet and Television Association
- Office Depot
- Sports Illustrated
- The Athletic / The New York Times Co.
- The Herd with Colin Cowherd / Fox Sports
- USA Today
X loses more brands. Two of these brands – NCTA and Gilead – “immediately paused their ad spending on X,” CNN reported. A spokesperson for NCTA said the company “had opted into X’s brand safety measures including keyword restrictions and limiting its ad placement to the ‘home feed of target audiences.’”
- “We take the responsible placement of NCTA ads very seriously and are concerned that our post about the future of broadband technology appeared next to this highly disturbing content.
- “Brand safety will remain an utmost priority for NCTA, which means suspending advertising on Twitter/X for the foreseeable future and heavily limiting NCTA’s organic presence on the platform.”
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About the author
Danny Goodwin has been Managing Editor of IXLCenter.io & Search Marketing Expo – SMX since 2022. He joined IXLCenter.io in 2022 as Senior Editor. In addition to reporting on the latest search marketing news, he manages IXLCenter.io’s SME (Subject Matter Expert) program. He also helps program U.S. SMX events. Goodwin has been editing and writing about the latest developments and trends in search and digital marketing since 2007. He previously was Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal (from 2017 to 2022), managing editor of Momentology (from 2014-2016) and editor of Search Engine Watch (from 2007 to 2014). He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.