According to Media Matters, X, formerly known as Twitter, is serving brand ads on an account linked to a white nationalist streamer known for promoting violence against politicians and LGBTQ supporters.
Big-name brands like Major League Baseball, Bayer, Tyson Foods, and eBay have placed their ads next to Stu Peters’s X account, which has over 400,000 followers. Peters, who reportedly lives in Minnesota, has been associated with spreading far-right conspiracy theories, including false claims about COVID vaccines and racist, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ claims on his podcast Are.
Despite assurances from CEO Linda Yaccarino that Musk has engaged in such content on several occasions.
“I certainly expect more from Musk than I expect from politicians,” Libby Hemphill, a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information and Institute for Social Research, told Salon. “He has made it clear that he does not view extremism as dangerous or anti-social as many of us believe.”
According to Media Matters, ads from several major brands appear next to accounts linked to white nationalist, neo-Nazi, and even Holocaust-denial content, including those of extremists recently reinstated on the platform under Musk. Accounts are also included. Some of the material being promoted includes long-discredited conspiracy theories linking Jewish people to the 9/11 attacks.
At least two companies suspended advertising campaigns on the social media website after their ads appeared next to an account promoting Nazism, CNN reports. After the problem was brought to the company’s attention, X suspended that account, saying that ad impressions on those pages were minimal.
According to Media Matters, ads from several major brands appear next to accounts associated with white nationalism, neo-Nazism and even Holocaust denial.
“Public backlash can be a powerful motivator for brands to change their policies or put pressure on ad platforms to restrict the types of advertising content a brand is allowed to have,” Hemphill said. “Of course, advertising contracts are absolutely one-sided. Brands have to be willing to put pressure on platforms to change their terms, and platforms have to be willing to enforce more policies.”
While most leaders “respond to incentives” like public pressure and regulation to get them moving, those strategies may be less effective with someone like Musk, Hemphill said.
Before Musk acquired Twitter, Peters was banned from the platform. He has a history of promoting conspiracy theories and has produced two films, “Watch the Water” and “Dead Suddenly,” that claim to expose sinister conspiracies involving the novel coronavirus and alleged “bioweapon” vaccines. Do it.
According to Rolling Stone report, Peters has also promoted violence, most recently calling for the death of Hunter Biden as well as Dr. Anthony Fauci, whom Peters said should be killed “until he If they do not die, they should be hanged with a thick rope.”
On X, he has attacked people for being Jewish and promoted white nationalist ideas and content. He once posted a picture of Adolf Hitler, Tweet: “You can say whatever you want about Hitler, but people flocked to his rallies.”
In its security policies section, “Attack” is not allowed. In many instances, it appears that Peters engaged in exactly the same behavior.
Media Matters cited two examples of Peters promoting violence and found advertisements from major brands directly on those posts. Peters shared an image of a flyer calling for the killing of pro-LGBTQ advocates, including the Target retail chain and anti-bullying organization GLSEN because of their support of transgender rights.
“It appears that some individuals are distributing literature at their nearest Target store,” he wrote.
According to Media Matters, brand ads that appeared next to this post included Bayer, Motley Fool, Outback Steakhouse, Puck News, Philadelphia Inquirer and New Jersey Tourism.
Peters wrote that pharmaceutical companies involved in vaccine manufacturing should receive the “death penalty,” a sentiment that would not sit well with Bayer, a pharmaceutical multinational that played a role in the production of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Peters once shared a video of politicians and journalists expressing support for COVID-19 vaccines and commenting: “Every single one of these people deserves to be hanged.”
He has also commented about pop singer Sam Smith, who identifies as non-binary, saying, “Any serious society would give this demon the Old Yeller treatment.”
While critics say Musk has taken little or no direct action to address anti-Semitism on An increase in content is reported.
Musk sued the Center for Countering Digital Hate in July, claiming its research on hate speech was inaccurate or misleading, which the center rejected. More recently, he threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League, claiming that allegations of increasing anti-Semitic content on X have resulted in significant revenue losses.
The tech billionaire has justified the spread of hate speech and anti-Semitism on his platform by claiming to protect free speech, while he has also “revived the central tenets” of some widespread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, according to the Western States Center. said chief of staff Jill Garvey. An anti-extremism monitoring group told Salon.
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Garvey said that many individuals, particularly disaffected young white men, may be attracted to anti-Semitic language online. He said they found the “Great Replacement” theory, or the claim that a secret “Jewish faction” wields immense influence in world affairs.
Such ideas come from “a long line of white nationalist ideology,” Garvey said. “I think there’s a lot of problem with [Musk] Actually pointing out those anti-Semitic things. He’s using a lot of coded language, but I think he’s becoming bolder and more aggressive in trafficking in some of this language that leads to violence in the real world.”
Hemphill of the University of Michigan has researched the issue, but he says there is no clear consensus on what true accountability might mean for social media platforms. For example, advertisers may demand more control over the type of content that appears in ads near their brands, which would require more work from both advertisers and platforms.
“Brands and advertisers have more power than users right now, because users are products rather than customers for the platform,” Hemphill said. “Users, in turn, can put pressure on advertisers and platforms by not clicking on ads, writing down brands, recruiting their friends to do the same. Users can also put pressure on their representatives to be accountable for who they are.” “Pass a law that changes the rules.”
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