Elon musk

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People are debunking the bold claims Elon Musk made in massive advertising lawsuit—in real-time on his own site

'how could there not be an ad blacklist for some of this stuff???'


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Nov 21, 2023

X users are posting screenshots of their searches for white nationalist and antisemitic terms and hashtags—attempting to debunk Elon Musk’s big new lawsuit.

On Monday, Musk’s X filed a lawsuit against the progressive watchdog group Media Matters after a report showed that X displayed advertisements from major companies such as Apple, Xfinity, IBM, and Oracle next to pro-Nazi content.

The lawsuit does not deny that the ads were displayed next to that content, but alleges Media Matters “manufactured” images and portrayed them “as if they were what typical X users experience on the platform.”

The lawsuit accuses Media Matters of employing inauthentic activity “until it finally received pages containing the result it wanted: controversial content next to X’s largest advertisers’ paid posts.”

“In fact, IBM’s, Comcast’s, and Oracle’s paid posts appeared alongside the fringe content cited by Media Matters for only one viewer (out of more than 500 million) on all of X: Media Matters,” it added. “Not a single authentic user of the X platform saw IBM’s, Comcast’s, or Oracle’s ads next to that content, which Media Matters achieved only through its manipulation of X’s algorithms as described above.”

But as X continues to defend its safety protocols for advertisers, users on X tried to see if they would find advertisements when they searched for problematic terms like #HeilHitler.

One user, Avi Bueno, called out Twitter CEO Linda Yacarrino, who defended the lawsuit by posting the same claim that “Not a single authentic user on X saw IBM’s, Comcast’s, or Oracle’s ads next to the content in Media Matters’ article. Only 2 users saw Apple’s ad next to the content.”

“Linda cannot be genuinely making this claim,” they wrote.

“It took me about 30 seconds to find X placing advertisements for @TheAthletic, @ShopTemu, @ActionNetworkHQ, and @Visit_NJ alongside a search for ‘killjews,'” he said. “This place is broken and advertisers should be worried.”

He added in subsequent posts that the results were not a fluke and he’d found advertisements when searching for other terms including “heilhitler,” “r*peiscool,” and “g*dhatesgays.”

And he wasn’t the only one posting about finding ads next to offensive content.

“Like others, I searched #HeilHitler for an experiment and these were the ads that popped up,” Evan Hurst wrote alongside a screenshot of ads for the conservative Media Research Center, an apparel company, and a vintage Banknotes seller. “I didn’t have to ‘excessively scroll’ anything, it took under a minute to find all three.”

“how could there not be an ad blacklist for some of this stuff???” wrote a separate X user of a screenshot of an ad for a Christian fundraising campaign that appeared under a search for “#Jewskilledjesus.”

“Holy shit. If you search HeilHitler, you get a ton of ads. I literally just got the German Government’s ‘come live in Germany’ ad on the search,” wrote independent journalist Erin Reed. “The German Govt is literally accidentally advertising to Hitler searchers to ‘come live in Germany.’ Media Matters was not lying.”

Users also claimed Musk and X were aware of their efforts to point out the inaccuracy of the suit.

“It would appear in response to multiple people confirming this, Twitter has nuked all search ads,” Reed added Monday night.

Multiple companies suspended advertising on X in the wake of Media Matters’ report. IBM told the Financial Times it “suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation” and Apple reportedly paused its advertising on the platform as well.

Other companies not named in the report have additionally halted advertising, according to Media Matters.

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*First Published: Nov 21, 2023, 11:06 am CST