So far, they are at least hundreds of millions of dollars short on making up for X’s potential lost revenue.
As big companies like Apple flee Elon Musk’s X, right wing influencers pledge to buy ads in support of the social media company and its owner. Credit: KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Apple. Disney. IBM. NBCUniversal. Sony. These are just some of the big companies that have suspended their advertising campaigns on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, over the past few days.
Since then, numerous right-wing media companies and influencers have come together and pledged support for Elon Musk, promising to advertise on X in order to make up for the revenue lost from fleeing businesses.
Last week, Elon Musk voiced his support for an antisemitic conspiracy theory that claims Jewish groups are replacing white people with immigrants from minority groups. Musk’s endorsement of this conspiracy on X also coincided with a Media Matters for America report that showed how big brands’ ads were appearing on pro-Nazi and pro-Hitler content. These two issues combined appear to have created a situation in which many big companies felt they could no longer advertise on the platform.
Tweet may have been deleted On Saturday, Seth Dillon, CEO of conservative satire website Babylon Bee, announced that his company would be spending $250,000 to advertise on X in order to support “free speech.” Dillon’s support for Musk shouldn’t be a surprise. Babylon Bee’s suspension on then-Twitter was one of the reasons why Musk was interested in acquiring the social media platform to begin with.
Shortly after, YouTuber Tim Pool also pledged to spend the same amount on X ads “over the next few months.”
Tweet may have been deleted Soon, more right-wing media figures and companies followed with pledges of their own, albeit much less than the amounts that Dillon and Pool were promising. Political commentator Benny Johnson, for example, pledged $50,000 in ad spending. Other right-wing creators like The Quartering, Donut Operator, Gavin McInnes, and Elijah Schaffer pledged smaller amounts ranging from $2,500 to $40,000.
The controversial Andrew Tate, a “manosphere” influencer who has previously been charged with rape and human trafficking, pledged the largest amount, saying he’d give Musk $1 million per month without even running ads for his own endeavors.
“I will advertise X on X, I will literally promote your own platform on this platform,” wrote Tate. “1,000,000 USD a month. You dont need other advertisers. Simply let me know where to pay @elonmusk.”
It’s unclear if Tate is serious or even has the resources to basically donate $12 million per year to X. When Tate was arrested earlier this year, Romanian authorities unveiled he had roughly more than $10 million in assets. This means that Tate is pledging more than he even has to Musk, an amount that would wipe out Tate’s fortune in less than 12 months.
However, even taken at face value, Tate’s comment that Musk would “not need other advertisers” if Tate paid $1 million per month to X is clearly ludicrous.
As of publishing, a total of 8 right-wing media figures and groups have pledged $1,627,500 in ad buys on X. That includes Tate’s possibly unserious offer. In addition, the majority of those pledges are over the course of multiple months, so that amount is not per month.
To compare to the amount X has lost from fleeing advertisers, Apple alone reportedly spends more than $100 million per year on X ads. Looking at it more broadly, advertising made up 90 percent of the $5.1 billion that then-Twitter made in the year before Musk took over.
Musk has already voiced his appreciation for the advertising pledges in a post on X. But, the truth is that the support from these right-wing figures cannot fill the gaping revenue hole left by these big brands and corporations who are taking their ad dollars elsewhere after its owner’s recent actions.
UPDATE: Nov. 19, 2023, 7:08 p.m. EST This piece has been updated to include additional details surrounding Andrew Tate’s net worth.