Stellantis pauses paid advertising on Twitter after Elon Musk takeover

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

The maker of Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks has joined the flock of companies pausing paid advertising on Twitter after Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk bought the social media platform.

Stellantis NV on Monday confirmed it had pulled paid advertisements after last week, saying it would exercise "vigilance" under the new leadership through its ad agencies.

“We're pausing paid advertising posts," spokeswoman Diane Morgan said in a statement, "until we have a clearer understanding of the future of the platform under its new leadership."

The company didn't elaborate on what clearer understanding it's seeking.

Musk closed on his agreement to buy Twitter Inc. for $44 billion on Oct. 27. It triggered celebrations, criticisms and concerns over potential changes in moderation and the spread of misinformation. A day later, companies, including General Motors Co., began announcing temporary halts to paid advertising on the platform amid uncertainty over the future direction.

In the days that followed, companies including United Airlines Inc., Pfizer Inc., General Mills Inc. and Volkswagen AG, were among the brands that joined in pulling funding toward promotions on the website, according to Bloomberg. Ford Motor Co. has said it wasn't paying for advertising on Twitter at the time of Musk's deal closing.

An open letter signed by more than 40 organizations, including the NAACP and Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, called on Twitter's top 20 advertisers to stop financing the platform. They claimed Musk’s proposed changes would stifle their voices and allow hate speech, harassment and incorrect information to spread.

Musk on Friday tweeted that Twitter had seen a more than $4 million per day drop in revenue from advertisers following reports that the company had laid off thousands of employees. He blamed the drop on "activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists."

"Extremely messed up!" he added. "They’re trying to destroy free speech in America."

He added that the company's "strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged" and that "hateful speech" declined below prior norms last week at times.

Automakers are in a particularly precarious situation given that Musk is in charge of their No. 1 rival in the electric-vehicle transformation.

Stellantis in the past has pointed to social media engagements on platforms like Twitter to demonstrate the enthusiasm and loyalty of customers of its brands like Dodge and Jeep. One of its French brands, Citroën, previously tweeted on Oct. 28, "Hello to the social media platform owned by one of our competitors."

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble