Almost as soon as new Twitter Commander Elon Musk threw open the gates to untold hordes of previously banned users, including a few old-timey white nationalists, ads for major corporations and other brands are now popping up on the formerly shuttered accounts, according to the Washington Post.
The trouble may have something to do with Musk’s decision to fire hundreds of Twitter employees, perhaps as many as half the souls he found there, when he took over—content moderation teams among them. Those teams were specifically responsible for making sure that ads would not appear on accounts deemed to be… a bit much.
Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist,” posted a Twitter poll last month asking users whether he should unban accounts that had been expelled by the previous owners and team. These accounts began reappearing last week, and ads along with them.
Now, promoted tweets from the likes of Amazon, Snap, Uber, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are appearing on the accounts of both Andrew Anglin and Patrick Casey—two white nationalists who say their accounts were unbanned following Musk’s acquisition of the company. It is worth noting that the advertisements have since disappeared from both Anglin’s and Casey’s pages.
Anglin, the editor of the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer, and Patrick Casey, who previously was the head of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, later known as American Identity Movement, had their accounts banned from Twitter in 2013 and 2019 respectively.
A former Twitter employee, who chose to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, told the Post that the accounts must be manually flagged in order to intercept ads from appearing on them. Otherwise, they say, they are handled as ad-eligible.
Since the report, congress members have begun to address the issue. Ted Lieu, who has represented California’s 33rd congressional district since 2015, took to Twitter and wrote to HHS.
“Dear @HHSGov: According to this @washingtonpost article, your ads are appearing on the pages of white nationalists,” Lieu said. “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should not have its ads anywhere near white nationalist accounts. Please fix this immediately. Thank you.”
Dear @HHSGov: According to this @washingtonpost article, your ads are appearing on the pages of white nationalists. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should not have its ads anywhere near white nationalist accounts. Please fix this immediately. Thank you. https://t.co/n9EFSgXcPE
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) December 7, 2022
Though attention from congress may seem like a major hurdle in Musk’s Twitter agenda, it is just the latest in a sea of problems that he has faced since he bought the platform. Many companies have already made their decision to part ways with Twitter, leaving the site with far fewer ads.
This number seemingly rose after Musk intermittently launched a buyable verification system that resulted in droves of accounts impersonating prominent figures.
Just last week, Musk’s decision to unban accounts backfired on him again, with prominent Jew-hater Kanye West forcing his removal from the platform yet again after posting an image of swastika inside of the Star of David—which is believed to be the reason for the ban, though Twitter never explained.
Many also speculate that it could also have been Ye’s last tweet that did it: a photo of Musk being hosed down on a boat by play pal Ari Emmanuel. Musk said that picture was “fine” and served as “helpful motivation to lose weight!”
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