DIGITAL ADVERTISERS “AD WASHING” MUSK TO JUSTIFY RETURN
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 16, 2023
The Coalition for a Safer Web (CSW) disclosed new research today refuting “X” (formerly Twitter) pledges to major U.S. digital advertisers that it has effectively deployed new safety programs to protect brand ads from extremist account contamination.
Earlier this month, X’s current head of brand safety Élyana Thierry unveiled several new “brand safety” features she said, “will work together to unlock an extended level of adjacency protection for X advertisers designed to give advertisers preference over what tweets, er – posts, their content appears next to.”
The latest ploy by X is old wine in new algorithm bottles. It is the latest Hail Mary by Musk & Co to lure ad revenue back to X which abandoned it when Musk put out a royal welcome mat for extremists that had been banished from Twitter by its prior management.
The initiative has the imprimatur of the Global Internet Forum to Combat Terrorism (GIFCT) – a venture created by BigTech five years ago to coordinate among platforms the removal of terrorist social media content.
But GIFCT is exclusively funded by and answers solely to social media management. It has no independent authority to verify and hold X to its pledge. It is the same window dressing CSW has denounced in the past – advertisers may not like their ads amplifying extremist content, but by the time they find that out the real victim is the public – which has already had that content run rampant on the web. The horses have already bolted the barn.
The endless wash cycle of ad purchase suspension, subsequent return of advertisers being promised better content moderation, followed by another “suspension” is the sorry story of BIGTECH’s and digital advertiser’s co-dependency.
Advertisers simply cannot wean themselves off platforms long enough to compel platforms to adopt a transparent, irreversible content moderation gold standard as proposed by CSW under its plan to create a new Social Media Standards Board.
On November 17, 2022, CSW issued a press release condemning Twitter for amplifying the notorious antisemitic group Goyim Defense League’s account with digital ads by blue chip brands “Disney”, “Paramount +”and even the US Dept. of Health & Human Services. That amplified GDL account is still active on X today. GDL had been banned from Twitter until Musk took control. CSW considers GDL’s amplified X account a canary in the coalmine to verify whether this new GIFCt/X dog and pony show is legit.
In recent days, CSW researchers found dozens of ad promoted extremist tweets including several for CNBC Closing Bell on the notorious X account belonging to Russian Mercenary Group PMC Wagner (https://twitter.com/stsampson13?s=21), promoted tweets for CNBC amplifying a X account belong to St Sampson tweeting or using X to amplify antisemitic conspiracies including those using the Hashtag ZOG for Zionist Occupied Government: NY Department of Transportation contaminated by antisemitic tweet. That same antisemitic account was also being amplified by ads promoting the US Department of Transportation https://twitter.com/stsampson13?s=21.
Of course, if Mr. Musk and his new X CEO Linda Yaccarino are prepared to share with the public how successful its new ad decontamination initiative and agree to immediately deplatform extremist content on X amplified by ads or not, we will consider this an important step to greater content moderation transparency by X.
CSW’s SVP for Content Moderation Eric Feinberg stated:
“I doubt that any programmatic solution can protect brands from self-amplifying extremist tweets. Why? The content that a user sees on his/her X account is primarily based on specific user preferences and “likes” and individual search experience courtesy of X’s algorithms. It’s no victory for the American people if X’s brand safety measure raises X’s level of content moderation from below zero to a paltry C minus.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Marc Ginsberg, President CSW
Eric Feinberg, SVP Content Moderation