The Growing List Of Brands Pausing Ads On Twitter Following Musk's Takeover

It wouldn't be wrong to say that 2022 is turning out to be the most tumultuous year Twitter has ever had in its 16-year history. Following months of suspense over Elon Musk's planned acquisition, the billionaire finally took ownership of the social media company in late October. Musk's purchase was immediately followed by massive structural changes within Twitter. He immediately ousted key figures — including CEO Parag Agarwal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, and Legal Policy, Trust, and Security head Vijaya Gadde. Musk then proceeded to fire Twitter's board of directors — becoming the sole director of Twitter and giving him unfettered control over the company.

Before taking control of Twitter, Musk — who claims to be a free speech absolutist — often criticized the platform's moderation policies and alleged left-wing bias. Now that he has control of one of the world's most influential social media platforms, there is a raging debate on how the platform will safeguard free speech while also ensuring vulnerable groups are protected from online harm.

Growing concerns over Twitter's uncertain future have also resulted in several users — including a handful of celebrities — (Via WSJ)  permanently leaving the platform. While initial estimates put the number of Twitter deserters at over a million, Twitter may be in for further trouble as an increasing number of advertisers seem to be at least temporarily abandoning the platform. Notably, this exodus has come despite Twitter making attempts at reassuring advertisers that Twitter will continue to be a safe advertising platform.

These are the companies that have suspended their ads on Twitter

In an exodus that sounds eerily similar to the one we saw in Russia right after the start of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war, several companies have suspended their ad spends on Twitter following Musk's acquisition, the Insider reports. Among the most prominent names in this list are auto giants General Motors, Volkswagen, and Audi, pharma major Pfizer, and noted food company, General Mills. Another notable brand that has decided to pause all Twitter ads is Mondelez International, famous for making Oreo cookies.

It is unclear at this time if the departure of notable auto brands from Twitter is because Elon Musk also owns Tesla — a brand against which most of these companies compete. In a statement to CNBC, General Motors confirmed that while it will have a social media presence on Twitter to interact with its consumers, they have decided to "temporarily pause" paid advertising on Twitter. Likewise, an Audi spokesperson confirmed that they are "evaluating the situation" at Twitter while adding that it has suspended advertising on the platform. As for Pfizer, the company is yet to put out a statement confirming these developments. However, a Wall Street Journal report claims that the pharma giant has, indeed, suspended ad spending on Twitter.

In addition to brands that have already paused ads on Twitter, the next few days could see a steady stream of brands making their way out of the Twitter ecosystem. Many of these brands would only be following instructions given to them by their advertising agency partners. Renowned ad agencies like the Interpublic Group, Havas, and IPG have reportedly begun advising their clients to pause spending money on Twitter ads during the company's current "chaotic" period.