Elon Musk pitches advertisers to return to X

Seven months after advising advertisers to withdraw their ads from his platform X, Musk alongside WPP's CEO Mark Read, clarified that his message was not specifically directed at advertisers but rather centered on the principle of 'freedom of speech'.

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Seven months after advising advertisers who were pulling their ads from his social media platform, X, to “go f— yourself,” Elon Musk adopted a more cordial tone at the advertising industry’s premier annual festival.

On Wednesday, Musk appeared alongside Mark Read, CEO of ad giant WPP, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France, a five-day event attracting thousands of the industry’s top marketing officers, tech leaders, creative professionals, and others from around the globe. “Back in November, you told us to go f— ourselves,” Read recalled. “Why did you say that? And what did you mean by that?”

Responding to Read's question, Musk clarified that his message was not directed at advertisers in general but rather was 'about freedom of speech'. He further stated that advertisers had the right to choose content that aligns with their brands, but it was unacceptable on their part to demand the removal of all content they disagree with from the platform.

In November, X was dealing with the departure of several major advertisers after Musk endorsed a post promoting an antisemitic conspiracy theory as 'the actual truth'. Musk later described the advertisers' response as 'blackmail' and warned that the advertising boycott could 'kill the company.' He also tried to clarify that his post was not intended to be antisemitic.

At Cannes, Musk also mentioned that the company has improved its ability to match users with ads using AI. He suggested that advertisers who have left the platform should consider returning, as the company is now more focused on showing ads to users who would find them interesting and has made significant progress in this area. Additionally, Musk and Read also discussed the future role of AI in creativity with Musk noting that his company Neuralink aims to enhance human intelligence to keep pace with AI, which he believes will significantly amplify creativity.

elon musk advertisers on X X (formerly Twitter)