“We have seen an alarming increase in disinformation and hate speech on several social media platforms in recent weeks, and X is certainly quite effective of that,” European Commission spokesperson Johannes Bahrke said in a press briefing on Friday. “We have therefore advised services to refrain from advertising at this stage on concerned social media platforms, where we have concerns that such content appears in an inappropriate context and thus affects the effectiveness of our communication and our messages.”
Bahrke went on to add, “This has nothing to do with our presence on X per se. This is really about advertisements, campaigns and ad spending. And for these campaigns, we continuously assess and evaluate the media environment in view of our communication objectives.”
In a statement to Variety, a spokesperson for X said: “The European Commision has only advertised about $5,000 so far this year, but is still organically posting across all it’s X handles specifically @eu_social @eu_partnerships, @euhomeaffairs @euclimateaction and @eib, plus the European Investment Bank told us they will still be actively advertising on X.”
The news was first reported in Politico’s Brussels Playbook newsletter, which cited an internal note from the European Commission that mentioned “widespread concerns relating to the spread of disinformation.”
Last month, the European Union launched a probe into X’s handling of false information tied to Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7 within the framework of the Digital Services Act, a policy aiming at fostering safer online environments.
Earlier this week, the progressive watchdog group Media Matters found that five major brands, including IBM, had their ads placed next to posts that “tout Hitler and his Nazi Party” on X.
IBM reacted by pulling its ads from X and released a statement to Variety saying it has “zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation.” The other brands include Apple, NBCUniversal’s Bravo, Oracle and Comcast’s Xfinity.
Musk also found himself at a center of a controversy on Wednesday after endorsing an antisemitic post which claimed that the “Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” Musk replied to the post saying, “You have said the actual truth.”