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Elon Musk says Earth will decide whether advertising boycott or he killed X

  • X, formerly Twitter owner Elon Musk told advertisers who had suspended advertising on the platform to “go f**k yourself”.
  • The owner said that the advertising boycott was going to kill the company and not his often unhinged posts.
  • When asked if he’d bankroll the company should the advertising boycott bankrupt X Musk dodged the question and instead blamed the boycott.

The last year at Twitter, now X, has been tumultuous to put it lightly. Verification became a pay-to-play affair, the new owner of the platform culled huge numbers of staff and unbanned some of the worst people to have graced the platform in its life.

Most recently, Musk has been accused of being anti-semitic after agreeing with and amplifying anti-semitic voices on X. The owner also launched a lawsuit against Media Matters for America after it found and reported on advertising appearing next to anti-semitic, neo-Nazi, racist and other evil content.

On the back of that report, several advertisers announced they had suspended advertising on the platform. As reported by The Verge, more than 100 brands have suspended their advertising efforts on X and the firm stands to lose as much as $75 million as a result.

This week at the DealBook conference Musk appeared on stage with Andrew Ross Sorkin who sought to address the advertising boycott.

“I hope they stop, don’t advertise” Musk interjected while Sorkin asked if the billionaire was on an apology tour.

“If somebody is going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go f**k yourself. Go. F**k. Yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is,” Musk said to nervous laughter likely coming from X chief executive officer Linda Yaccarino who was reportedly in the audience.

The billionaire then tried to comically greet “Bob”, who is likely Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO who had earlier in the day discussed not wanting to be associated with Musk.

Musk seemed to be having fun until Sorkin pressed him about the reality that X needs advertisers to stay afloat. The billionaire then decided to shift the potential collapse of X onto the shoulders of the advertisers who had abandoned the platform.

“What this advertising boycott is going to do, it’s going to kill the company. And the whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company and we will document it in great detail,” Musk said, looking as pleased as a child who just went to the toilet alone for the first time.

When challenged on the fact that the advertisers may not be responsible and that Musk’s questionable posts may be to blame, the billionaire said, “Tell it to Earth.”

Here’s the thing, whether Twitter or X lives or dies, is really of no consequence to the person in the street. Sure, they will lose a platform where they can find news and post memes but these platforms become popular because of the users not because of the platform. In the wake of Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, several alternatives have come to the foreground and to think that the average, non-premium, non-ad-revenue share-earning user will mourn the loss of X is mighty bold of Musk.

What we found rather telling is that when Sorkin asked Musk if he’d bankroll X if advertising could no longer keep the company afloat, Musk deflected and once again said that if the advertising boycott bankrupts the company everybody will know.

We find it pertinent at this point to remind our readers that Musk tried to abandon his offer to purchase Twitter because he hadn’t done his due diligence before trying to buy it.

Following this interview, Yaccarino posted to X, “Today Elon Musk gave a wide ranging and candid interview at DealBook 2023. He also offered an apology, an explanation and an explicit point of view about our position. X is enabling an information independence that’s uncomfortable for some people. We’re a platform that allows people to make their own decisions. And here’s my perspective when it comes to advertising: X is standing at a unique and amazing intersection of Free Speech and Main Street — and the X community is powerful and is here to welcome you. To our partners who believe in our meaningful work — Thank You.”

As regards that apology, it’s about the “actual truth” response Musk replied with to an incredibly anti-semitic post.

“I should in retrospect not have replied to that one person,” Musk said. “Essentially I handed a loaded gun to those who hate me, and arguably to those who are anti-semitic, and for that, I’m quite sorry. That was not my intention,” he added.

You can watch the full interview below.

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