In a significant move, Apple has decided to suspend its advertising on Elon Musk’s X social media platform, following reports that its ads were being displayed alongside far-right content. This development adds to the recent challenges faced by X, the social media app previously known as Twitter, as other major companies, including Disney and Lionsgate, have also withdrawn their ads. IBM had previously severed ties with Musk’s platform.
According to reports, Apple was on track to spend $180 million on X last year. The New York Times reported that this decision comes in the wake of concerns about the placement of Apple’s ads next to controversial content on the platform.
Earlier on the same day, Musk faced criticism from the White House for promoting what was described as an “abhorrent lie” on X. Musk endorsed a user’s statement claiming that Jews supported the influx of “hordes of minorities” into the U.S. The White House condemned Musk for perpetuating a falsehood that had previously led to an act of anti-Semitism, referring to the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting by Robert Bowers.
This move by Apple follows a similar trend, with other companies like Disney and IBM distancing themselves from X after a report by Media Matters for America revealed that ads were placed next to content promoting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino has asserted the platform’s commitment to combating antisemitism and discrimination, stating that there is no place for such content anywhere in the world. However, civil rights groups have reported a surge in hate speech on X since Musk acquired the platform and reduced content moderation.
Antisemitic incidents have been on the rise globally and in the United States. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported a nearly 400% increase in antisemitic incidents in the U.S. following the outbreak of war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on October 7.
This latest development underscores the increasing scrutiny faced by social media platforms for their role in disseminating and sometimes amplifying controversial and harmful content, prompting major advertisers to reassess their associations with such platforms.