Twitter reportedly ran family-friendly ads next to alt-right propaganda

    Twitter’s confusing advertising priorities are once again under the microscope as users report family-friendly ads were being run alongside user-posted clips of an antisemitic film(opens in a new tab).


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    As confirmed by Gizmodo, ads for brands like Disney, Microsoft, Adobe, and the newspaper The Telegraph appeared in posted clips from the film Europa: The Last Battle, a movie considered to be an antisemitic, “World War II revisionist film(opens in a new tab)” by the Anti-Defamation League(opens in a new tab). The film is frequently used as a recruitment tool for neo-Nazi groups and was often taken down by social platforms to curb white supremacist content.

    However, several Twitter accounts with verified blue checkmarks began sharing clips of the film again, and other users spotted promotional ads for big brands, video games, Harper Collins, Adobe, Colonial Penn Life Insurance, and legal nonprofit the Public Rights Project below the clips. In December, Twitter announced new controls that would let advertisers choose where their ads appeared(opens in a new tab) using chosen keywords, Reuters reported.

    But since Elon Musk’s takeover and the implementation of several policies that reinstated banned accounts, edited the site’s hateful conduct policy, and brought back content that was previously deemed a violation, Twitter has been lax on its content moderation policies and become an advertising nightmare, with several major advertisers pulling back or fully removing their spots on the platform.

    In January, addressing the projected loss of advertising revenue, the site began offering to match advertisers up to $250,000 for ad spots in order to lure brands back onto Twitter. Broadly, Musk’s promise of “less advertising” was also proven to be a false hope, as not even paid Twitter Blue subscribers got a reprieve from the new advertising algorithm, Mashable reported in April.

    According to the 2023 Axios Harris Poll(opens in a new tab), which tabulates brands’ popularity based on nationwide survey rankings, Twitter has the fourth worst reputation(opens in a new tab) among Americans. It’s also proliferated hate speech(opens in a new tab) in the months since Musk’s purchase and ranks as the worst social platform for LGBTQ users.

    In June, ringing in an even harsher blow to brand safety, Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, and the company’s head of brand safety and ad quality, A.J. Brown, resigned. The departure of the two execs, tasked with content moderation and brand safety, signals an even lower expectation for user safety and content moderation moving forward.

    But Twitter might also be making money from reinstating hate-filled content on the app. According to a February report by The Center for Countering Digital Hate(opens in a new tab), Twitter could make up to $19 million in revenue from impressions garnered on reinstated accounts known for spreading hate speech. It appears the company is still weighing the loss of widespread trust, and the support of several marginalized communities and their advocates, with potential monetary gain.

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