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  • Writer's pictureMichael Amelio

ADL Announces Resumption of Advertising on X After Elon Musk Dispute

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) announced its intention on Wednesday to recommence advertising on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, after a recent dispute involving its owner, Elon Musk.

Last month, Musk had threatened to sue the ADL for defamation, alleging that the organization's statements about the rise of hate speech on X had negatively impacted the platform's advertising revenue. ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt contested these claims, asserting that although the ADL had been part of a coalition of groups that called for a pause in advertising on the platform shortly after Musk's acquisition last year, it had not been involved in such actions in recent months.

Furthermore, Musk's statements had exacerbated a campaign of antisemitic hatred against the ADL that had already commenced before his legal threat, resulting in a surge of threats directed at the organization, as reported by Greenblatt to CNN last month.

In its statement on Wednesday, the rights group reiterated that any allegations suggesting the ADL orchestrated a boycott of X, caused substantial losses to the company, or manipulated other advertisers were unfounded. The group pointed out that it had been advertising on the platform until the recent anti-ADL attacks, and it was now preparing to do so again to convey its vital message in combating hate to X and its users.

Musk responded to the ADL's statement in a post on Wednesday, saying, "Thank you for clarifying that you support advertising on X." This statement appears to signify a resolution, at least for the time being, to the weeks-long tension between Musk and the ADL, a period that coincided with a rise in incidents of antisemitism across the United States. However, the ADL stated that it would continue to monitor X for antisemitic content.

The ADL highlighted the issue of hate speech on X, along with other social media platforms, noting that extremists and antisemites frequently used these platforms to propagate hateful ideas and sometimes harass Jewish and other users. The ADL expressed the hope for a more positive, healthier, and safer X, pledging to commend the platform for its progress in that direction while also holding it accountable when it falls short.

In reports, the ADL and similar organizations, like the Center for Countering Digital Hate, have documented a significant increase in hate speech on X during Musk's tenure as owner, although Musk has contested these findings.

In August, two brands temporarily halted their ad spending on X when their advertisements appeared alongside an account promoting Nazism. X took action by suspending the account and reporting that ad impressions on the page were minimal.

X has emphasized its new "freedom of speech, not freedom of reach" policy, aimed at limiting the reach of what it terms "lawful but awful" content on the platform, with the goal of safeguarding brands from having their ads displayed alongside such material.

CEO Linda Yaccarino has also promoted additional brand safety controls, giving advertisers the ability to avoid having their ads appear next to content featuring "targeted hate speech, sexual content, gratuitous gore, excessive profanity, obscenity, spam, [and] drugs."

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