Sep 18, 2023 - Technology

Apple CEO says company constantly assessing advertising on X

Apple CEO Tim Cook holds up a new iPhone 15 Pro during an Apple event on Sept. 12 in Cupertino, Calif. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple leadership regularly evaluates whether to continue advertising on X, in the wake of the social media platform's revamp, logistical changes and accusations of it amplifying hate speech, said CEO Tim Cook.

Why it matters: Brands have pulled advertisements from X, formerly known as Twitter, and don't have plans to return to the platform ahead of the holiday season.

What they're saying: "It's something that we ask ourselves," Cook said of X advertising during an interview with CBS News. "Generally, my view is Twitter is an important property. I like the concept that it is there for discourse and there as a town square. There's also some things about it I don't like."

The big picture: X CEO Elon Musk has blamed X's advertising deficit on civil groups that publish research reports suggesting hate speech has intensified on the platform under his ownership.

  • He has sued or threatened to sue those researchers.
  • The reports, Musk said, have encouraged big brands to drop their advertising on X. He said earlier this month that revenue was down 60% "primarily due to pressure on advertisers" by the Anti-Defamation League.
  • Musk has claimed the ADL is "trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it & me of being anti-Semitic."

Yes, but: Marketers have told Axios that the decrease in spending isn't necessarily attributed to reports of rising hate speech, but a culmination of issues with the platform, including Musk's inconsistency as a leader.

  • Yaccarino, who has defended the platform's efforts to combat hate speech, has worked to implement more formal measures to court advertisers back, including revamping the company's brand safety measures.

Our thought bubble, from Axios' Sara Fischer: Many advertisers have chosen to keep spending on X, but with a significantly reduced budget, to avoid public backlash from Musk, sources have told Axios.

  • Apple has been one of X's most visible advertisers and partners. In June, Apple TV+ put the entire first episode of its science-fiction drama "Silo" on Twitter for free. It often buys ads promoting Apple TV+ shows.
Go deeper