Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has many users worried about changes to the site under the mercurial billionaire, including big corporate advertisers. Auto giants General Motors and Ford were among the first to say they won’t be putting ads on the platform until they understand the scope of those changes.
“We are engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership,” the Detroit-based automaker said in an e-mail statement late Friday. “As is the normal course of business with a significant change in a media platform, we have temporarily paused our paid advertising. Our customer care interactions on Twitter will continue.”
Ford is “not currently advertising on Twitter,” said spokesman Said Deep. “We will continue to evaluate the direction of the platform under the new ownership.”
Like GM, it will also keep engaging with Ford customers on the site.
The moves coincide with Musk’s attempt to calm Twitter advertisers who may be worried that his comments about being “free speech absolutist” mean the site will be more welcoming to extremist viewpoints, racism and broadly offensive content. Musk said Twitter can’t become “a free-for-all hellscape” ahead of the purchase and tweeted on Friday that he was creating a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints” to set new ground rules.
Both GM and Ford are also looking to take electric vehicle market share away from Musk’s Tesla, the world’s top EV brand. Advertising on a platform owned by the man who also leads a rival carmaker creates an unusual situation. French automaker Citroёn acknowledged as much in a cryptic tweet on Friday.
“Hello to the social media platform owned by one of our competitors,” the company said without elaborating.
Hyundai and Kia, which are also aggressively ramping up EV sales, weren’t immediately able to comment on the matter.
Smaller electric vehicle companies, including Lucid, Rivian and Fisker, told Forbes they had no plans to change their use of Twitter. All three are in startup mode, particularly Fisker, which launches its first model, the battery-powered Ocean SUV, next month.
Still, Fisker CEO and cofounder Henrik Fisker, who’s had legal and professional clashes with Musk, deleted his personal Twitter account in April after the platform agreed to Musk’s purchase offer.
GM’s move was reported earlier by CNBC.
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