Twitter advertiser pause widens as General Mills taps the brakes
General Mills Inc., said it’s temporarily pausing advertising on Twitter, joining Pfizer Inc., Volkswagen’s Audi and other brands rethinking their presence on the platform now that Elon Musk has taken over and is making his mark on the social media company.
“We have paused advertising on Twitter,” said Kelsey Roemhildt, a spokesperson for General Mills. “As always, we will continue to monitor this new direction and evaluate our marketing spend.”
Brands including Pfizer, Audi and General Mills are concerned that the platform could host more-objectionable content as Musk rethinks his approach to content moderation, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter it didn’t name.
Others are stepping back amid uncertainty at the top of the company, including the departure of some key executives. General Motors Co. said last week that it was suspending advertising on Twitter.
“We have currently paused paid support on Twitter and will continue to evaluate the situation,” a spokesperson for Audi said.
New Twitter owner Elon Musk is poised to cut the company’s workforce by 50%. Those employees should be in line for guaranteed severance -- unless Musk once again attempts to push the envelope of what’s legal.
A spokesman for Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Since completing his acquisition, Musk has said he will convene a content council to make decisions about standards for users and their tweets. Among the considerations will be whether public figures who have been suspended, such as former President Trump, will be allowed back on the platform.
Advertising mogul Martin Sorrell, chairman of S4 Capital, said his firm is advising clients to adopt a “wait-and-see” approach to the platform. Rivals such as agency holding company Interpublic Group of Cos. have advised pausing Twitter marketing, Variety reported earlier this week.
“Clients don’t want conflict, they don’t want controversy,” Sorrell said in a Bloomberg TV interview at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, on Thursday. “They want a stable environment, and what we’ve seen in the last week or so is too much inconsistency.”
Twitter accounts for only about 1% of global digital media, Sorrell said. But Twitter relies on advertising for the bulk of its revenue. Last week, Musk tweeted an open letter to marketers in which he said he wants to make Twitter “the most respected advertising platform in the world.”
With whims of iron, Zuckerberg and Musk are bringing their companies to the edge of the grave, and shareholders and users have no say in the outcome.