GM temporarily suspends advertising on Twitter following Musk takeover

DETROIT — General Motors is suspending its advertising on Twitter following Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media platform, the corporate instructed CNBC on Friday.

The Detroit automaker, a rival to Musk-led electrical automobile maker Tesla, mentioned it’s “pausing” advertising because it evaluates Twitter’s new course. It will proceed to make use of the platform to work together with prospects however not pay for advertising, GM added.

“We are engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership. As is normal course of business with a significant change in a media platform, we have temporarily paused our paid advertising. Our customer care interactions on Twitter will continue,” the corporate mentioned in an emailed assertion.

Under CEO Mary Barra, the Detroit firm was among the many first automakers to announce billions of {dollars} in spending to raised compete in opposition to Tesla within the battery electrical automobile section.

A General Motors signal is seen throughout an occasion on January 25, 2022 in Lansing, Michigan. – General Motors will create 4,000 new jobs and retaining 1,000, and considerably growing battery cell and electrical truck manufacturing capability.

Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | Getty Images

A spokesperson for Ford Motor, one other Tesla rival, instructed CNBC that the automaker just isn’t presently advertising on Twitter, and had not been doing so previous to Elon Musk’s take-private deal. They added, “We will continue to evaluate the direction of the platform under the new ownership.”

However, when offered with a screenshot of a promoted tweet from Ford CEO Jim Farley, the spokesperson couldn’t verify when was the final time Ford or its collaborators might have paid for adverts, together with promoted tweets, on the platform.

Ford is constant to interact with its prospects on Twitter.

Other auto corporations, together with Rivian, Stellantis and Alphabet-owned Waymo, didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark on whether or not they plan to droop advertising or discontinue utilizing the social media platform in wake of Musk’s $44 billion buyout of Twitter.

Electric truck maker Nikola mentioned it had no plans to alter something relating to the platform.

The future course of Twitter has been central to the takeover story. Musk has mentioned he’s a “free speech absolutist,” who would restore the account of former President Donald Trump, who was banned over his tweets in the course of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Musk mentioned on Friday that he plans a “content moderation council” and won’t reinstate any accounts or make main content material selections earlier than it’s convened. Musk additionally mentioned in a press release to advertisers this week that he can not let Twitter grow to be a “free-for-all hellscape.”

Henrik Fisker, CEO of EV startup Fisker Inc., deleted his Twitter account earlier this yr when Twitter’s board accepted Musk’s bid to purchase the corporate and take it non-public. Fisker Inc. continues to make use of Twitter, which each main automotive model makes use of for buyer engagement and advertising and marketing.

Musk has lengthy boasted that Tesla doesn’t pay for conventional advertising, a value that has added up for typical automakers’ manufacturers via the years.

Instead, Tesla rewards individuals who run, or are members of, Tesla house owners’ golf equipment in addition to different social media influencers who promote the corporate’s merchandise, inventory and Musk on social networks, particularly Twitter and YouTube in addition to on fan blogs.

They are sometimes granted early entry to Tesla merchandise, like the corporate’s Full Self Driving Beta software program, and given passes to firm occasions the place attendance is proscribed.

In September 2020, Tesla weighed a stockholder proposal to start strategic, paid advertising to coach the general public about its automobiles and charging community. The Tesla board beneficial in opposition to it, and shareholders voted with the board in opposition to beginning to pay for conventional advert campaigns. 

In the corporate’s annual report for 2021, Tesla wrote: “Historically, we have been able to generate significant media coverage of our company and our products, and we believe we will continue to do so. Such media coverage and word of mouth are the current primary drivers of our sales leads and have helped us achieve sales without traditional advertising and at relatively low marketing costs.”

It reported advertising and marketing, promotional and advertising prices had been “immaterial” for the years ended Dec. 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019 in monetary filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

— CNBC’s John Rosevear contributed to this report.

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