General Mills latest to halt Twitter ads as Musk takeover triggers brand exodus | Twitter

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General Mills is the latest to join a growing group of companies that have stopped advertising on Twitter after a billionaire acquired the social media platform Elon Musk for $44 billion.

The company, known for its Cheerios and Lucky Charms cereal, confirmed on Thursday that it would pause advertising on the platform. “We will continue to monitor this new direction and evaluate our marketing spend,” spokesperson Kelsey Roemhildt said.

Last week, the first American automaker General Motors Co temporarily on hiatus paid advertising on Twitter amid corporate chaos. Volkswagen AG’s Audi also confirmed on Thursday that it would pause commercials and “continue to assess the situation,” spokesman Whaewon Choi-Wiles said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Pfizer had also suspended ad spending on Twitter. The pharmaceutical company did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The growing exodus of advertisers comes amid concerns that Musk will scale back misinformation and safety protections on the platform. As civil rights groups question potential moderation issues, companies debate whether to stay on Twitter could tarnish their brands.

Shortly before taking over the San Francisco company last week, Musk made a vow to advertisers that he would not allow Twitter to become a “hellscape free for all”, an indication that there would still be consequences for violators of its rules against harassment, violence or elections and Covid-related misinformation.

But since then, some users have posted racial slurs and recirculated long-debunked conspiracy theories in an apparent attempt to see if the site’s policies are still being enforced. The NAACP said this week that it had raised concerns with Musk about “the dangerous and potentially deadly hatred and conspiracies that have proliferated on Twitter” under his watch.

Other big Twitter advertisers like Warner Discovery, Coca-Cola and Nestlé did not respond to requests for comment on their ad plans.

Some may assess their plans after Twitter’s new “content moderation board” meets. Musk said he would not reinstate any accounts or make important decisions about the content before it is convened. No date has been announced for this meeting.

Around 90% of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertisers, but it’s far from the biggest platform advertisers turn to for digital marketing. Google, Amazon and Meta account for around 75% of digital ads, with all other platforms combined accounting for the remaining 25%.

Twitter will account for 0.9% of global digital ad spend in 2022, according to Insider Intelligence projections. Meta will represent 21.4% in 2022.

Twitter lost most of its top executives last week, including the one in charge of ad sales.

The social media company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sarah Personette, the site’s chief customer officer, tweeted earlier this week that she resigned from Twitter on Friday and her access to work was officially cut Monday night. Days earlier, she said she had a “great chat” with Musk and expressed optimism about the future of the business. Announcing her resignation on Tuesday, she said she still believes Twitter’s new administration understands the importance of upholding the “brand safety” standards it seeks to uphold.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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