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The reinstatement of former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account last weekend has prompted several activist groups to call on companies to pull their advertising spending on the platform.
Billionaire businessman and Twitter owner Elon Musk reactivated Trump’s account following the results of a Twitter poll in which he asked for users’ opinions on the matter. Results showed that 51.8 percent of users voted to reinstate Trump’s account, while 48.2 percent voted against it.
Trump’s account had been shut down by for nearly two years. He has yet to post on Twitter since his account was restored.
However, the move has riled the leaders of over 60 activist groups that are part of the “Stop Toxic Twitter” coalition.
The activists claim that Musk promised them he would establish a “content moderation council” before any decisions were made regarding the reinstatement of certain accounts but that weeks later, he backtracked on that promise.
Musk said in October that the platform would form a council that had “widely diverse viewpoints” while vowing that “no major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”
The coalition released a statement on Sunday claiming Musk had turned Twitter into “a hellscape of misinformation, hate, and extremism” by reinstating the former president’s account.
“Unless and until Musk can be trusted to enforce Twitter’s prior community standards, the platform is not safe for users or advertisers,” they added.
Jessica Gonzalez, co-CEO of the digital rights group Free Press, said in a statement on Tuesday that Musk has “gone back on every promise he made to civil-rights leaders and advertisers.”
“Musk either changed his mind or lied to civil rights leaders and advertisers,” Gonzalez said. “He is a reckless and erratic billionaire who puts his whims ahead of concerns for the welfare of the online community.”
Gonzalez called on advertisers who “care about brand safety” to pull the plug on their advertising on Twitter.
Musk Says Coalition ‘Broke’ Deal
However, Musk took to Twitter himself on Tuesday to address the claims, writing that the reason Twitter is lacking a moderation council is that “a large coalition of political/social activist groups agreed not to try to kill Twitter by starving us of advertising revenue if I agreed to this condition,” but that they eventually “broke the deal.”
In response, Derrick Johnson, CEO of the NAACP, wrote on Twitter that the coalition leaders would “never make such a deal” and that “democracy always comes first.”
Johnson went on to say the decisions being made at Twitter were “dangerous.”
Dozens of major brands have paused advertising spending on Twitter in recent weeks, including Balenciaga SA, General Mills Inc., General Motors Co., United Airlines Inc., and Pfizer Inc.
Others, such as Meta Platforms Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., have yet to make any public announcement as to whether they will follow suit.
Roughly 90 percent of Twitter’s revenue comes from selling digital ads, according to Reuters.
The Epoch Times has contacted Twitter for comment.