Twitter has admitted for the first time that its main advertising business may be jeopardized as a result of Elon Musk’s $44 billion buyouts, as well as the loss of key personnel.
The microblogging platform said in a new filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it is vulnerable to the new risk associated with its “business relationships, financial condition, operating results, cash flows, and business,” which include “whether advertisers continue to spend on our platform.”
Musk’s ‘free speech’ demand has Twitter advertisers concerned, as it may place their businesses next to messages full of intolerance and bias.
According to TechCrunch, Twitter stated in a new US SEC filing that it continues to generate the “substantial majority of our revenue from advertising” and also that the loss might affect the company.
According to the corporation, if its reputation among advertisers deteriorates, it may become less competitive.
“We believe that our ability to compete effectively for advertiser spend depends upon many factors, including ‘our reputation and the strength of our brand relative to our competitors, including advertisers’ perception of the health and safety of our platform,” Twitter clarified.
There are also concerns of a mass exodus from Twitter once Musk takes charge, as he has lined up new employees, including a new CEO, to join the site.
Last month, Twitter reached out to its advertisers, assuring them that Musk’s position as a “free speech absolutist” and his promises to fundamentally restructure the network would not harm their brands.
According to reports, Twitter contacted advertising agencies, including campaigns and automakers, to reassure them that Musk’s ideas will not make the site unwelcoming to businesses.
Twitter’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, is concerned that Musk’s ‘free speech’ mission could harm the company’s $4.5 billion advertising revenue.
Advertisers are experiencing nightmares because free speech might harm their brand’s prospects on the platform by allowing their brand’s name to appear alongside hate speech, offensive or harmful content that is not moderated.
When free-market giants like Musk or Jeff Bezos (who acquired the Washington Post in 2013) take control of major mass-media outlets, questions are raised about the future of free expression, which is still a necessary component of democratic participation.
This contributes to broader worries about the increasing privatization of public spaces. Many people regard the fact that we spend so much of our time in private locations earning advertising income for billionaires as an affront to human dignity in the online age. The Twitter transaction may just transfer ownership from one set of private hands to another, but the fact that the world’s richest (and most divisive) billionaire is involved appears to exacerbate the situation.