It's long past time for Apple to stop advertising on Twitter


Over the past 24 hours, the hashtag “BanTheADL” has been trending on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. The trending hashtag refers to the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish anti-extremism civil rights organization.

Even more concerning is that X owner Elon Musk has signaled support for the attacks against the ADL on the platform.

Within the same time frame, numerous X users have also reported being served an X-approved advertisement on the platform that promotes white supremacy.

At this point advertising on Twitter is directly extending financial support to neo-Nazis. It’s long past time that companies like Apple,1 which resumed advertising on the platform in December 2022, just stopped.

But it won’t, which is finally putting the lie to the idea that the company’s leadership team care one iota about about the impact its actions make on the culture of the country which nurtured it. “You support rampant anti-semitism on your service? No problem! Here’s some money. You explicitly allow transphobic hate speech on the service? That’s fine with us! Here, have some more money.”

Apple is very good at taking a stand when it’s easy. It refused to carry various small right-wing social platforms on its App Store, because the content moderation policies weren’t up to scratch. Meanwhile, Twitter gets a pass despite having no practical control over hate speech and an owner who actively encourages it.

Should we be considering boycotting Apple and other companies that advertise on Twitter? Let’s frame that another way: if you found out that a company was actively funding hate speech, would you want to buy products from them?

I know I wouldn’t.

  1. Why am I picking on Apple here? First because it’s the world’s biggest company. Second, because unlike, say, Amazon, it makes a great deal of noise about its commitments to societal good, such as privacy and recycling. No one should be surprised if, say, a car company advertised on Twitter. We hold Apple to a higher standard, because at least publicly it holds itself to one. ↩︎

Ian Betteridge @ianbetteridge