Elon Musk’s social media company X, formerly known as Twitter, took a turn for the worse in November 2023 when it asked advertisers to “Go f**k yourselvesOn stage with The New York Times. At the time, Musk said he rejected “blackmail” for “censorship,” in response to a few major brands cutting their advertising deals with X after… A rise in anti-Semitism has been reportedIncluding controversial ones Comments on the Jews of Musk Himself. Ad-driven businesses are expected He suffered for months After Musk said the quiet part about advertisers out loud — maybe a little too loudly. On Wednesday, Musk softened his tone.

“It wasn’t about advertisers as a whole,” Musk said on stage at the Cannes Lions Festival. “In terms of freedom of expression, I think it is important to have a global platform for freedom of expression, where people from a wide range of views can express their opinions.”

Elon Musk challenges an interviewer and leaves the audience speechless

“In some cases, there were advertisers who insisted on censorship,” Musk said. “Ultimately… if we have to choose between censorship and losing money, [or] Censorship and money, or freedom of expression and losing money, we will choose the second option.”

“Of course, advertisers have the right to appear next to content they find consistent with their brands,” he said. “That’s totally cool. What’s not cool is the insistence that there can’t be any content they disagree with on the platforms.

Musk retreated from his war on advertisers this week at a time when Company X’s advertising business is showing some signs of life. Linda Yaccarino, CEO and deplore of all of Elon’s bad behavior, told employees last week: 65% of advertisers have returned Since January. Company X has turned to smaller companies as it struggles to recoup ad dollars from larger brands like Apple and Disney.

Still, it’s hard to forget Elon’s comments to DealBook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin in November. Here’s a refresher:

Musk: “I hope they stop.”

Sorkin: “You what?”

Musk: “Do not advertise.”

Sorkin: “You don’t want them to announce?”

Musk: “If someone’s going to try to blackmail me with ads, or blackmail me with money, go fuck yourself.”

Sorkin: “But–“

Musk: “Go…fuck…yourself.”

Even before Musk told advertisers to make a fool of themselves, Company X wasn’t doing well. The social media platform in the first quarter of 2023 Lost $456 million.

To increase revenue, Musk has talked for years about freeing X from its ad-supported business model. Last year, Musk pushed job listings, AI-powered chatbots, and subscription services to X. The company has applied for government licenses to conduct financial transactions, part of X’s plan to become the next Venmo, according to The Verge. Bloomberg.

However, for now, X still makes money primarily from its advertising business. Musk may have gotten a little ahead of himself in November, as is often the case, and is now forced to walk back his comments. He clearly remains true to his absolute free speech agenda, whatever that means, but now in a safe way. Congratulations advertisers, it’s time to knock yourselves out.

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