Walmart latest big advertiser to pull out of Musk’s X amid widening concerns over hate speech, reach


A sign encouraging customers to order grocery items online and pick them up at a store is displayed at a WalMart Neighborhood Market in Bentonville, Ark., Thursday, June 4, 2015. Walmart is the latest company to join the growing flock of major advertisers to pull spending from X, Elon Musk’s beleaguered social media company, amid concerns about hate speech — as well as reaching a sizeable audience on the platform. Credit: AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File

Walmart is the latest company to join the growing flock of major advertisers to pull spending from X, Elon Musk’s beleaguered social media company, amid concerns about hate speech—as well as reaching a sizeable audience on the platform.

“We aren’t advertising on X as we’ve found some other platforms better reach our customers,” Walmart said in a statement.

The announcement comes two days after Musk went on an expletive-ridden rant in an on-stage interview with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin about companies halting spending on X, formerly known as Twitter, in response to antisemitic and other hateful material. Musk said advertisers pulling out are engaging in “blackmail” and, using a profanity, essentially told them to go away.

“Don’t advertise,” Musk said.

Walmart is joining the Walt Disney Co., IBM, NBCUniversal and its parent company Comcast and other companies who have decided to stop spending on X.

X’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, is a former NBCUniversal executive who was hired by Musk to rebuild ties with advertisers who fled after he took over, concerned that his easing of content restrictions was allowing hateful and toxic speech to flourish and that would harm their brands. But X’s relations with advertisers don’t appear to be improving.

“Walmart has a wonderful community of more than a million people on X, and with a half a billion people on X, every year the platform experiences 15 billion impressions about the holidays alone with more than 50% of X users doing most or all of their shopping online,” said Joe Benarroch, head of operations at X, in a statement.

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