Statements
2022

Open Letter to Twitter’s Top 20 Advertisers

For Immediate Release
November 1, 2022
Contact: press@accountabletech.org

 

Open letter to the CEOs of Amazon, Anheuser-Busch, Apple Inc., Capital One Financial Corporation, CBS, CenturyLink, Coca-Cola Company, Comcast Corporation, Best Buy Co. Inc., Disney, Google, Home Box Office, Inc. (HBO), IBM, Merck & Co., Meta Platforms, Inc., Mondelez International, PepsiCo, Inc., Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Verizon.

Dear CEOs: Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter came with his promise to advertisers like you that the social network would not transform into a “free-for-all hellscape” and would remain “warm and welcoming to all.”

But beware: Musk’s promises in no way accurately portray his plans for Twitter, nor are they a reflection of the evolving reality of the platform as it transforms by the minute under Musk. If Elon Musk follows through with just a fraction of what he has already committed to doing, then Twitter will not and can not be a safe platform for brands. Urgent action is needed by advertisers.

Among Musk’s first acts as owner was to spread a dangerous conspiracy theory about a violent attack on the husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. He also fired several top executives, including Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal policy, trust, and safety.

Within 24 hours of Musk taking ownership, the platform was inundated with hate and disinformation. Not only are extremists celebrating Musk’s takeover of Twitter, they are seeing it as a new opportunity to post the most abusive, harassing, and racist language and imagery. This includes clear threats of violence against people with whom they disagree. Without deliberate efforts by Twitter to address this type of abuse and hate, your brands will be actively supporting accelerating extremism.

Additionally, he has threatened to drastically reduce employee headcount, putting those responsible for maintaining community standards and protecting user safety first on the chopping block. Musk has also publicly supported the idea of restoring the accounts of prominent individuals Twitter had suspended for inciting and glorifying political violence, spreading election- and COVID-related disinformation and abusing people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, or disability.

Your companies are Twitter’s 20 largest US advertisers, spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Your posture and response to Musk’s plans during this moment matter for your brands.

We, the undersigned organizations, call on you to notify Musk and publicly commit that you will cease all advertising on Twitter globally if he follows through on his plans to undermine brand safety and community standards including gutting content moderation. This means that Musk must not roll back the basic moderation practices Twitter already has on the books now and must commit to actually enforcing those rules.

We know that brand safety is of the utmost importance to you. As such, you also have a moral and civic obligation to take a stand against the degradation of one of the world’s most influential communications platforms, and to hold Musk to the pledge he made to you to ensure that Twitter is a welcoming and civil place for everyone.

Sincerely,

Accountable Tech

Free Press

Media Matters for America

Access Now

AI for the People Inc.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Center

Azerbaijan Internet Watch

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

The Center for American Progress

Center for Countering Digital Hate

Center on Race and Digital Justice

Change the Terms Coalition

Color Of Change

Common Caus

Dangerous Speech Project

DemCast USA

Digital Africa Research Lab

Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR)

Doctors In Politics

Equality Labs

Fair Vote UK

Friends of the Earth

GLAAD

Global Project Against Hate and Extremism

Jewish Women International

Majal.org

MediaJustice

Muslim Advocates

NAACP

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Hispanic Media Coalition

Numun Fund

PFLAG National

ProgressNow NM

Public Citizen

Public Knowledge

Ranking Digital Rights

The Real Facebook Oversight Board

Right To Be (formerly Hollaback!)

The Sparrow Project

SumOfUs

The Tech Oversight Project

The TransLatin@ Coalition

UltraViolet

Union of Concerned Scientists

United We Dream

United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry

#VOTEPROCHOICE

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