IBM cuts ads on X amid claims they appeared near Nazi posts

17 Nov 2023

Image: © Diego/

X has been trying to bring advertisers back onto the platform, but a recent report claims the ads of multiple big brands have been placed next to offensive content.

IBM has suspended its advertising on X – formerly known as Twitter – due to a report that claims these ads were being shown next to pro-Nazi and pro-Hitler content.

A report from not-for-profit Media Matters For America contains images of adverts on X appearing next to offensive posts that showed support for Hitler and the Nazi party.

The report claims ads from Apple, Bravo, Oracle, Xfinity and IBM have appeared next to this type of content. In a statement to multiple media sites, IBM said it has suspended all advertising on X while it “investigates this entirely unacceptable situation”.

X told Reuters that its system does not intentionally place brand ads next to this type of content and that the accounts shown in the Media Matters report would no longer be able to make money from their posts.

X has had a tricky relationship with advertisers since Elon Musk took over the platform last year. Back in November 2022, agencies were advising clients against advertising on the platform and claimed it was a “high-risk” endeavour.

In April, Microsoft dropped X from its advertising platform, preventing users from being able to access their X accounts through Microsoft’s social management tool.

In September, X CEO Linda Yaccarino claimed that 90pc of the platform’s top 100 advertisers had returned in the previous 12 weeks, Business Insider reported. Another report from Media Matters claims the the majority of X’s top 100 advertisers have spent a fraction of what they did in the 12 weeks before Musk took over the platform.

Disinformation and controversial Musk

Meanwhile, X has been dealing with claims that Musk has been endorsing offensive content on the platform. Earlier this week, Musk responded positively to a tweet that claimed Jewish communities are pushing “dialectical hatred against whites”.

In a post on X yesterday (16 November), Yaccarino said the platform’s point of view is “very clear” that discrimination by everyone should stop “across the board”.

“When it comes to this platform – X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination,” Yaccarino said.

Last month, there were reports that disinformation around Israel’s war in Palestine was being spread on X. The spread of disinformation on X was called out by the EU in September, after a report claimed the site had the highest proportion of disinformation when ranked against other major social media platforms.

Last month, the European Commission launched an investigation into X over the alleged spreading of disinformation on the platform

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic