European Commission, IBM pull ads from Elon Musk’s X

The EU’s executive branch said advertising on X posed “reputational damage” while IBM pulled ads after they were displayed next to Nazi content.

The European Commission has said it would stop running all ads on Elon Musk’s X over “widespread concerns relating to the spread of disinformation,” according to an internal note to senior staff obtained by Politico’s Brussels Playbook newsletter.

The note to heads of service and directors general mentioned disinformation related to the Israel-Hamas war as one factor that prompted the Commission to make the decision.

The Commission was pausing advertising on the social platform until further notice “to avoid risks of reputational damage,” the institution’s Deputy Chief Spokesperson Dana Spinant was quoted as saying.

Spinant said that EU services can still use their accounts on X for communication, and the freeze only affects paid-for advertisements. Last month, the EU started a probe into X’s handling of disinformation linked to Hamas' October 7th attack on Israel and its compliance with the bloc’s Digital Services Act.

This follows IBM’s decision to suspend all advertising on X after a report found its ads placed next to content praising Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

Media watchdog Media Matters said it found corporate advertising from IBM, as well as companies like Apple, Oracle, and Comcast placed next to antisemitic content.

"IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation," IBM said in a statement.

X said its systems did not deliberately place these brands next to extremist content and that pro-Nazi accounts would no longer be able to earn money from them, according to Reuters.

The report came out a day after Musk endorsed an antisemitic post falsely accusing members of the Jewish community of inciting hatred against the white people.

The platform’s CEO, Lina Yaccarino, addressed the situation by saying: “X’s point of view has always been very clear that discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board – I think that's something we can and should all agree on.”

“When it comes to this platform – X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination. There's no place for it anywhere in the world – it's ugly and wrong. Full stop,” Yaccarino said in a post on X.

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