When news broke early Friday that carmaker General Motors had suspended ads on Twitter following Elon Musk’s purchase of the social platform, many reacted negatively over what they perceived as the company’s “woke” response to free speech. That may be the case, but there’s more to the story that should be explored.
First, let’s look at the report. According to Fox Business:
General Motors will suspend advertising on Twitter as the social media giant continues to find its footing under the new ownership of Elon Musk.
“We are engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership. As is 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,” the carmaker told Fox Business.
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The announcement came a day after Musk took ownership of the social media giant and immediately fired several top executives. In an effort to assure advertisers, Musk on Thursday said the platform would not be a “free-for-all hellscape” following the $44 billion acquisition.
“Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” Musk said in a lengthy statement titled “Dear Twitter Advertisers.” “In addition to adhering to our laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences.”
Some have worried about what, if any, regulations on hate speech would be imposed under the new ownership and how ads could be affected. Fox Business has reached out to Ford and Stellantis, the parent company of several car brands, including Fiat, Jeep and Dodge.
Whether or not one buys the excuse that it’s “normal course of business” to pause advertising after a change of ownership on a media platform, we should consider the other aspects of this move. Musk owns Tesla, a direct competitor of General Motors. On his first day, Musk announced he would be bringing in Tesla engineers to examine Twitter’s operations. While there may not be any intention by Musk to dive into his automotive competitors’ business, it’s prudent for General Motors to pause until they could verify his intentions.
If General Motors cancels their ads indefinitely, we can assume it’s due to corporate wokeness. The platform is almost certainly going to reach more eyeballs under Musk’s control and since it’s assumed it will be more “conservative-friendly,” the quality of the potential buyers General Motors could reach there will go up. If they turn their ads back on, we can assume they were truthful about simply pausing to understand Musk’s intentions. Stay tuned.