Coalition for a Safer Web Sets the Record Straight
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 5, 2023
Elon Musk has a Twitter/”X” digital ad revenue problem of his own making.
Since his acquisition of Twitter (now “X”) US digital ad revenue is down over 60% and the value of his $44 billion investment has plunged. Consequently, Musk is on the warpath searching for scapegoats. He first targeted the Committee to Counter Digital Hate (CCDH) with a lawsuit. Yesterday, he threatened to file a defamation lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
But Musk has no one to blame but himself.
Since his takeover in the name of “free speech” “X” has degenerated into a hellscape of hatred and bigotry from the moment Musk fired all of Twitter’s cadre of content moderators.
Not surprisingly, Twitter/X advertisers ran for the hills, especially since the Coalition for a Safer Web (CSW) began sharing almost two years ago with the digital advertising industry a steady stream of research that since Musk’s acquisition of Twitter US blue chip advertisers were unwittingly amplifying antisemitic accounts with their ad buys on Twitter/X.
Musk’s cavalier attitude toward antisemitic incitement on “X” is also a by-product of the recent Supreme Court’s decision in Gonzales vs. Googlethat upheld Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act’s grant of blanket immunity for social media platforms from content liability as well as Congress’ failure to hold social media platforms to account for enabling extremist violence.
* Musk had been forewarned as early as April 29, 2022 by CSW that he had an antisemitic/ad amplification problem.
In an OP ED published by “The Hill”, CSW’s President Marc Ginsberg wrote:
“Advertisers will not tolerate having their ads amplified alongside harmful speech. Case in point: The Coalition for a Safer Web (CSW) recently petitioned Twitter to purge the rabidly antisemitic neo-Nazi “National Justice Party (NJP)” Twitter account. The NJP account had more than 50 major U.S. corporate ads amplified off it. Advertisers contacted by CSW were livid when they learned their ads were legitimating a radical, violence-inciting white supremacist organization.”
* Subsequently, on November 8, 2022, CSW issued a second press releasedetailing how Twitter’s antisemitic accounts were being amplified by digital ads. CSW stated in its release:
“Digital advertisers beware! As Elon Musk decapitates Twitter’s senior content moderation team the deluge of antisemitic content contaminating Twitter is escalating. And only digital advertisers have the leverage over Musk to prevent Twitter from reverting to an antisemitic “hellscape.”
“Major U.S. brands risk harming their reputations so long as Musk zigs and zags between his need to mollify digital advertisers and his intention to yank the band-aid off of Twitter’s feeble content moderating algorithms.”
* Less than two weeks later on November 17, 2022, CSW issued yet again a warning to Musk that Twitter had enabled the rabidly antisemitic GOYIM DEFENSE LEAGUE to establish a Twitter account — one of the most notorious U.S. antisemitic operations responsible for intimidating Jewish communities across the US and desecrating Jewish cemeteries, synagogues, and schools.
CSW’s release included the text of a letter sent by CSW President Ginsberg to Musk pleading with Musk to remove the GDL account.
In its letter, CSW informed Musk that Twitter’s new GDL account was amplified by ad purchases made by Disney, Paramount+, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, ESPN College Football, and other US brand advertisers. GDL DID NOT have a Twitter account prior to Musk’s takeover. CSW included screen shots of GDL’s account amplified by advertising.
CSW’s letter was also shared with members of Congress and various executives associated with the digital advertising industry which demanded Musk act against the GDL’s account. Neither Musk nor any of his underlings responded to CSW’s letter and the GDL account remains active on X today.
* Because Musk had ignored CSW’s prior appeals, we decided to go around Musk and appeal directly to Twitter’s investors in the hope that they would compel Musk to act against the antisemitism on Twitter.
On January 19, 2023, CSW’s President Marc Ginsberg wrote to the following persons identified in the media as financial backers of Musk’s Twitter takeover:
Mr. Larry Ellison, Co-Founder & Chairman of Oracle
Mr. Roelof Botha, Senior Managing Director, Sequoia Capital
Mr. Ben Horowitz, Co-Founder & General Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
Mr. James Gorman, Chairman and CEO, Morgan Stanley
Mr. Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO, Bank of America
Mr. C.S. Venkatakrishnan, Group Chief Executive, Barclays
Mr. Ross Kestin, CEO, Aliya Capital Partners, LLC
Mr. Changpeng Zhao, Founder & CEO, Binance
In his letter, CSW’s President detailed a list of antisemitic accounts amplified by blue chip US advertisers were provoking more U.S. antisemitism. CSW not only appealed to these individuals to reign in Musk’s actions, CSW also offered to work gratis with Twitter, if necessary, to assist deplatforming antisemitic accounts.
*Not one of these individuals responded to CSW’s plea and offer of help.
* Finally, on August 16, 2023, CSW issued its latest press release raising alarms again that “X” had reneged on a commitment by its new CEO to curb antisemitism, listing the latest intercepts CSW uncovered:
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.”
On August 27, CSW’s researchers uncovered a new camouflaged antisemitic account on “X” identified as “Adeste Fideles” who is using an antisemitic hashtag identified as “THENOTICING” with ads appearing on this account for: The Tennis Channel, Canlis Shoes, and American Medical Association, Los Angeles Charges Draft Kings NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Musk is trying to muzzle any independent effort to hold him accountable. He and his cohorts are enabling antisemitic incitement on “X” pure and simple. The evidence is irrefutable. His clumsy efforts to intimidate social media watchdog groups is a sign of desperation and blatant disregard for the consequences of his own actions.
Amb. Marc Ginsberg, President of CSW stated:
“Since Musk acquired Twitter (“X”) the digital ad industry has received regular reports from CSW revealing that despite repeated warnings backed up with data, Musk has KNOWINGLY AND WILLINGLY steered “X” in a dangerous direction enabling rampant antisemitic activities to thrive on it.”
“Musk’s bullying tactics designed to intimidate social media watchdog groups fighting antisemitism smacks of McCarthyism. His threats against CCDH and the ADL must be called out for what they are: a refusal to take responsibility for his own failures at X.”
“We challenge musk to sue CSW for urging advertisers to abandon “X.” We stand by our repeated efforts to ward off digital advertisers from funding Musk’s dangerous vanity trip on “X” at the expense of the safety and security of America’s Jewish community.”