Even as Twitter postponed once again the launch of its blue check subscription service, civil rights activists mounted pressure on companies and advertisers to boycott the micro-blogging site in protest against the toxicity that could be unleashed — or already has been — on the social media platform.
A coalition of civil rights activists were urging Twitter’s advertisers to issue statements about pulling their ads off the social media platform after its owner Elon Musk lifted the ban on tweets by former US President Donald Trump, a Reuters report said.
Trump’s account, which Twitter had suspended after the US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021 citing the risk of further incitement of violence, was reinstated over the weekend. Some 90 percent of Twitter’s revenue comes from selling digital ads.
The groups in the Stop Toxic Twitter coalition on Monday complained that Musk had vowed to advertisers that Twitter would take a considered approach to reinstating banned accounts and convene a new content moderation council. No such council has been created as of Monday.
“It was a real breach,” Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, a left-leaning media watchdog that is part of the coalition, said on Monday. He said Musk “was lying from the beginning.”
“In less than three weeks Musk has gone back on every promise he made to civil-rights leaders and advertisers,” said Jessica Gonzalez, co-chief executive of media and democracy group Free Press, which is also part of the Twitter coalition, in a press release.
Twitter, which lost much of its communications team when Musk slashed the staff shortly after taking over, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This month, Musk complained that pressure from the activists had already caused a “massive drop in revenue.”
Twitter began reinstating banned or suspended accounts late last week, including the comedian Kathy Griffin as well as Trump.
Blue Relaunch Postponed Further: Meanwhile, Musk said on Monday the social media company is holding off the relaunch of its blue check subscription service, a delay from his initial tentative timeline to bring back the service on the platform.
“Holding off relaunch of Blue Verified until there is high confidence of stopping impersonation,” Musk said in a tweet, adding, “Will probably use different color check for organizations than individuals.”
The coveted blue check mark was previously reserved for verified accounts of politicians, famous personalities, journalists and other public figures.
But a subscription option, open to anyone prepared to pay, was rolled out earlier this month to help Twitter grow revenue as Musk fights to retain advertisers.