Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) may be poised to lose $75 million in revenue from lost advertising by the end of 2023.

A plethora of blue chip brands have paused their marketing activities with the world’s third-biggest social media network, the New York Times reported on Friday.

X and its owner have been accused of antisemitism following Musk’s response to a tweet critical of Jewish communities pushing “hatred against whites”. The billionaire was robust and quick to vehemently deny he was antisemitic and quickly took legal action against left-leaning watchdog Media Matter. He claimed the organization his defamed platform with a false report showing ads for major brands appearing next to neo-Nazi posts.

Elon Musk’s X suffers ad revenue backlash

Whatever the outcome of the SpaceX and Tesla CEO’s defamation case, the damage to X’s bottom line is tangible. Hundreds of companies have halted advertisements on the network, dissuaded from engaging with X by the accusations of antisemitic content and pressure from campaign groups.

The leaked documents viewed by The New York Times highlight 200 ad units of companies from the likes of Airbnb, Amazon, Coca-Cola and Microsoft, many of which have stopped their ads on the social network, the report said. The published figure contradicts X’s total of  $11 million in revenue at risk due to the ongoing row. Furthermore, the exact figure fluctuated as some advertisers returned to the platform and others increased spending, according to the investigation.

The network’s revenue has already declined at least 55% year-over-year each month since Musk’s takeover, Reuters previously reported. 

Musk himself, has remained defiant amid the contraction of advertising sped in his key markets. “Advertisers avoid controversy, so all that is needed for ADL to crush our US & European ad revenue is to make unfounded accusations,” he posted on X in September.

Musk continued: “They have much less power in Asia, so our ad revenue there is still strong.

“This ‘controversy’ causes advertisers to “pause”, but that pause is permanent until ADL gives the green light, which they will not do without us agreeing to secretly suspend or shadowban any account they don’t like.

“That is the relationship they’ve had with X/Twitter for many years. Presumably, they have that with all Western search or social media orgs.”

Sam Shedden

Managing Editor

Sam Shedden is an experienced journalist and editor with over a decade of experience in online news. A seasoned technology writer and content strategist, he has contributed to many UK regional and national publications including The Scotsman, inews.co.uk, nationalworld.com, Edinburgh Evening News, The Daily Record and more. Sam has written and edited content for audiences whose interests include media, technology, AI, start-ups and innovation. He's also produced and set-up email newsletters in numerous specialist topics in previous roles and his work on newsletters saw him nominated as Newsletter Hero Of The Year at the UK's Publisher Newsletter Awards 2023. He has worked in roles focused on growing reader revenue and loyalty at one of the UK's leading news publishers, National World plc growing quality, profitable news sites. He has given industry talks and presentations sharing his experience growing digital audiences to international audiences. Now a Managing Editor at Readwrite.com, Sam is involved in all aspects of the site's news operation including commissioning, fact-checking, editing and content planning.