Twitter is running ads next to tweets from Holocaust deniers

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Twitter is running ads for companies including Nokia, The Wall Street Journal, and Mailchimp alongside tweets from Holocaust deniers, according to a report by nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Media Matters reviewed five Twitter accounts belonging to neo-Nazis, antisemites, and Holocaust deniers and found that ads for prominent companies were being slotted next to tweets from the accounts. The reach of the five Twitter accounts, which include writers, a “pseudo-academic organization,” and white nationalist YouTubers, ranges from a couple thousand followers to tens of thousand.

All five of the accounts are subscribed to Twitter Blue, the subscription service that’s become one of Elon Musk’s main priorities since taking over the company. Earlier this month, Musk tweeted that Blue subscribers would get a cut of the revenue for ads placed beneath their tweets.

The Media Matters report is the second report published this week regarding ads appearing next to troubling content on Twitter.

A study from Thursday by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) found that Twitter was profiting off of ads placed alongside accounts that were previously banned but reinstated under Musk’s ownership of the platform. The CCDH estimated Twitter’s profits from the ads to be up to $19 million a year from a selection of 10 such accounts, including misogynistic influencer Andrew Tate, far-right influencer Baked Alaska, and Andrew Anglin, founder of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. The CCDH used a combination of tweet impressions, frequency of ads, and data from analytics firm Brandwatch to estimate the ad revenue from the 10 accounts.

Companies whose ads were appearing next to reinstated accounts included Apple TV, Amazon, the NFL, and Fiverr, which said it would stop advertising on Twitter, according to The Washington Post.

A key concern advertisers had after Musk took over Twitter was that the billionaire’s approach to “free speech” would make the platform inhospitable to brands. Last fall, after Musk’s takeover became final, several of the largest ad agencies recommended its clients pause their Twitter spending, saying it was “high-risk.”

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