Elon Musk seems determined to convince Tesla-rivalling automakers to resume advertising on Twitter following his acquisition of the social media platform.
Speaking in a town hall for advertisers that was broadcast on Twitter Spaces, Musk pledged not to give unfair advantages to Tesla seeing as he is the CEO of both companies. He added that he hopes his fellow auto executives will be more active on the platform. "We will try to be as fair as possible," Musk said during the discussion, as reported by Bloomberg.
This marked a clear change of tone in how Musk has referred to advertisers recently. On November 4, he tweeted that activist groups are pressuring advertisers to stop spending money on Twitter, accusing them of "trying to destroy free speech in America."
He even threatened advertisers with a "thermonuclear name and shame" if they continued to pull their ads from the platform.
Signs that some automakers might not be comfortable with Elon Musk's ownership of Twitter were there from the very beginning. After Tesla's CEO bid on Twitter in April 2022, Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker was the first to react by deleting his personal Twitter account.
At the time, Fisker explained that he did not want his free speech "to be actively managed or controlled by a competitor." While his reaction was radical, an increasing number of automakers announced they would stop paid advertising on Twitter after Elon Musk finalised the acquisition of Twitter last month.
General Motors said it was suspending paid advertising on Twitter on October 28, with several other big names following later on, including Volkswagen Group and Stellantis on November 4 and November 7, respectively.
While Volkswagen Group recommended its brands to suspend paid advertising on Twitter, Stellantis has paused all paid advertising posts until it gets a clearer idea of what the platform will look like under the leadership of Elon Musk.
Meanwhile, Ford said it is not currently advertising on Twitter and had not been advertising prior to Elon Musk's take-private deal; the company noted it would continue to evaluate the direction of the platform under the new ownership.
With Elon Musk himself admitting that Twitter is losing $4 million a day when he announced mass layoffs a few days ago, it goes without saying that the platform cannot afford to lose big advertisers like GM, Stellantis and Volkswagen Group—not to mention other companies that adopted a similar stance, such as United Airlines, General Mills, Mondelez and others.