IBM Stops Ads on X Following Anti-Semitism Accusation Against Musk

A media report blamed Mr. Musk of engaging in ‘white nationalist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.’
IBM Stops Ads on X Following Anti-Semitism Accusation Against Musk
A sign marks the entrance to IBM Corporate Headquarters in Armonk, N.Y., on March 20, 2009. (Stan Honda /AFP via Getty Images)
Naveen Athrappully
11/17/2023
Updated:
11/17/2023
0:00

IBM suspended its advertisements on X after the platform allegedly placed its ads close to pro-Nazi content.

“IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination, and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation,” the company said in a statement, according to Reuters. IBM’s announcement came after a report from left-wing media watchdog Media Matters for America claimed that the company’s ads on X were placed next to content promoting Nazism while also accusing Mr. Musk of being anti-Jewish.

“As X owner Elon Musk continues his descent into white nationalist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, his social media platform has been placing ads for major brands like Apple, Bravo (NBCUniversal), IBM, Oracle, and Xfinity (Comcast) next to content that touts Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party,” the Media Matters report said.

It accused Mr. Musk of endorsing “the pernicious anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jewish people are supporting ‘hordes of minorities’ who are ‘flooding’ into the country to replace white people.”

The endorsement that Media Matters cited is a Nov. 16 comment by Mr. Musk in support of a post by an X user which insisted that Jewish communities have been pushing “dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.”

“I’m deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest [expletive] now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities that support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much,” the user said.

Mr. Musk replied,”You have said the actual truth.”

The post itself was a response to an advertisement showing a white father scolding his white son for saying, “Hitler was right.” The ad called on to “stand up to Jewish hate,” insisting that “there’s no looking away from hate.”

Mr. Musk then went on to claim that the Jewish advocacy group Anti-Defamation League (ADL) “unjustly attacks the majority of the West, despite the majority of the West supporting the Jewish people and Israel. This is because they cannot, by their own tenets, criticize the minority groups who are their primary threat. It is not right and needs to stop.”

When one user said that generalizing the Jewish community is wrong. Mr. Musk agreed. “You right that this does not extend to all Jewish communities, but it is also not just limited to ADL,” he said.

“And, at the risk of being repetitive, I am deeply offended by ADL’s messaging and any other groups who push de facto anti-white racism or anti-Asian racism or racism of any kind. I’m sick of it. Stop now.”

In its report, Media Matters went on to insist that X has “reinstated numerous accounts of bigots and paid far-right extremists, apparently including a pro-Hitler and Holocaust denier account, as part of its creator ad revenue sharing program.”

“During all of this Musk-induced chaos, corporate advertisements have also been appearing on pro-Hitler, Holocaust denial, white nationalist, pro-violence, and neo-Nazi accounts.”

It was in the aftermath of this report that IBM’s announcement of withdrawing adverts from X was made.

User-Targeted Ads

In a statement to Axios, an executive from X said that they have done a “sweep on the accounts that Media Matters found and they will [no] longer be monetizable.” In addition, specific posts would be labeled as “Sensitive Media.”

The executive clarified that “the X system is not intentionally placing a brand actively next to this type of content, nor is a brand actively trying to support this type of content with an ad placement.”

“Ads follow the people on X. In this case, the Media Matter’s researcher has its own user handle, and they are then actively looking for this content—that’s how user targeting works,” he stated. “As it relates to the platform itself, control settings are in place there for every user and every brand.”

X CEO Linda Yaccarino during 2016 Advertising Week New York in New York City, on Sept. 28, 2016. (D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York)
X CEO Linda Yaccarino during 2016 Advertising Week New York in New York City, on Sept. 28, 2016. (D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York)

Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, said in a Nov. 17 post 7 that “when it comes to this platform—X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat anti-Semitism and discrimination. There’s no place for it anywhere in the world—it’s ugly and wrong. Full stop.”

The Media Matters report and IBM action come as Mr. Musk has been strongly countering attempts to portray X as an anti-Semitic platform.

The ADL has claimed that X allows such content to flourish and proliferate online. In September, Mr. Musk insisted that the ADL was trying to actively sabotage the platform and has caused major revenue losses in Europe and the United States.

“To clear our platform’s name on the matter of anti-Semitism, it looks like we have no choice but to file a defamation lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League … oh the irony,” Mr. Musk said in a Sept. 5 X post.

“Based on what we’ve heard from advertisers, ADL seems to be responsible for most of our revenue loss. Giving them maximum benefit of the doubt, I don’t see any scenario where they’re responsible for less than 10 percent of the value destruction, so ~$4 billion,” he said.

Meanwhile, Media Matters has been involved in several controversies. Back in 2019, conservative political commentator Larry Elder slammed the organization for allegedly distorting facts and twisting his words on the slavery of African Americans.

In May this year, Fox Corporation sent a cease-and-desist letter to Media Matters after the group published leaked footage of former network anchor Tucker Carlson following his exit from the outlet.

The Epoch Times reached out to Media Matters, X, and the ADL for comment.