Ben & Jerry's Ditches Twitter Over 'Hate Speech.' It's Not Alone

'NYT' reports company has seen 59% drop in ad sales from previous year
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2023 12:26 PM CDT
'Chaotic' Twitter Sees Ad Sales Fall 59%: Report
The Twitter logo is seen at the Twitter office in New York on Oct. 26, 2022.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Elon Musk seemed cautiously optimistic in April about Twitter's finances, telling the BBC that most of the social media platform's advertisers had returned and that it was "roughly breaking even." New stats tell a somewhat different story, with an internal presentation seen by the New York Times showing that the company's US ad revenue from April 1 through the first week of May was down $88 million, or 59%, from the previous year. Perhaps more worrisome is the fact that Twitter is unlikely to see that performance markedly improve in the near future, per those documents and interviews with current and former employees.

"Advertisers want to run in an environment where they are comfortable and can send a signal about their brand," Jason Kint, head of premium publisher group Digital Content Next, tells the Times, adding that the platform seems more and more "unpredictable and chaotic." The sources who spoke to the paper say everything from a spike in hate speech and porn on Twitter, to more promotions for pot and gambling are spooking advertisers. The news isn't great for Twitter, considering that ads have traditionally made up about 90% of the firm's revenue. Mum's the word on this development from Musk, who didn't respond to the Times request for comment, and from new CEO Linda Yaccarino, who declined to comment.

One big customer recently defecting from Twitter's ad ranks: Ben & Jerry's, which announced Wednesday that it's yanking its paid ads off of the social media platform due to the "proliferation of hate speech," reports Fox News. "We've watched with great concern the developments at Twitter following Elon Musk's purchase of the social media platform," the company said in a statement. "Hate speech is up dramatically while content moderation has become all but nonexistent." The ice cream giant pointed the finger at Musk himself for "[doubling] down on dangerous anti-democratic lies and white nationalist hate speech," and said Twitter "has become a threatening and even dangerous space for people from so many backgrounds ... This is unconscionable in addition to being plain bad business." Ben & Jerry's said it will keep a Twitter presence, for now, "to connect with our community." (More Twitter stories.)

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