Nov 4, 2022 - Economy

Twitter suffers "massive drop in revenue," Elon Musk says

Illustration of the Twitter bird flying past Elon Musk, leaving droppings on his shoulder.

Photo illustration: Maura Losch. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images.

Elon Musk said Friday that Twitter has experienced "a massive drop in revenue" due to advertisers leaving the platform.

The big picture: Before Musk's acquisition of Twitter, marketers expressed concerns about how Musk would handle content moderation on the platform because he has said he will embrace a free speech-first approach.

State of play: General Motors, Pfizer and Audi are among the companies that have pulled their ads from Twitter due to content moderation concerns, per the Wall Street Journal and CNBC.

  • General Mills also said it paused advertising on Twitter, with a spokeswoman telling the Star Tribune the company "will continue to monitor this new direction and evaluate our marketing spend."
  • GLAAD, Leaders of Voto Latino, Color of Change, Media Matters and other advocacy groups on Friday called on companies to pause Twitter ads, saying the recent layoffs will put content moderation standards at risk.
  • Last Tuesday, more than 40 civil rights and civil society groups urged Twitter’s top 20 advertisers to suspend ads on the platform, too.

What he's saying: "Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists," Musk tweeted. "Extremely messed up! They're trying to destroy free speech in America."

Thought bubble via Axios' Ina Fried: There are other reasons why advertisers are pulling back. First and foremost, companies want to make sure they are advertising in ways that are safe for the brand.

  • Many Twitter users made a similar point in their replies to Musk, and a user-generated fact check was added to his tweet.

Flashback: Musk previously tried to quell advertisers' concerns by tweeting a note saying that the platform must be "warm and welcoming to all" and not a "free-for-all hellscape."

  • The company should be "a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence," Musk said.
  • Twitter would build a "content moderation council," Musk said, before making any "major content decisions or account reinstatement."

Go deeper: Musk: Twitter to create new council before "major content decisions"

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper