NAACP President Derrick Johnson over the weekend called on advertisers to suspend their business deals with Twitter after the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, announced that former President Donald Trump can return to the platform.
Musk, who bought Twitter last month, reversed a decision made by the company days after the Capitol attack last year to impose a “permanent suspension” of Trump’s account. Twitter had accused Trump, who often used the platform to spread conspiracy theories and lies about the 2020 election, of violating its rules against glorifying violence.
“Any advertiser still funding Twitter should immediately pause all advertising now, ” Johnson tweeted Saturday.
Johnson and several civil rights leaders met with Musk earlier this month to discuss the proliferation of misinformation and hate speech on the platform since he took over.
After that meeting, Johnson was clear in saying he felt Musk and Twitter had a long way to go in reducing the abuse and rampant lies that have been allowed to spread on Twitter.
“Any content (or account) promoting election denial and other harmful lies about election results cannot be allowed to exist on his platform,” Johnson said in a statement at the time. “As long as hate, misinformation, and disinformation spread across Twitter, the bird cannot be free.”
Johnson’s tweet on Saturday sends a signal to sane and humane organizations: Abandon this current iteration of Twitter while you still have your reputation and dignity.
Jonathan Greenblatt, who heads the Anti-Defamation League and also attended the meeting with Musk earlier this month, joined in denouncing the reinstatement of Trump’s account.
Trump, as of this writing, has said he has no plans to return to Twitter — so take that for what it’s worth (very little). Presently, though, Trump’s wave-off of Musk’s invitation to return is one of the most damning indictments of the platform yet: One of the world’s most notorious Twitter trolls doesn’t see value in coming back to the beleaguered site (or so he claims — for now).
The fact that Twitter seems to have hemorrhaged users, including several notable brands, in recent months probably doesn’t help. But Musk’s desperate courting of Trump could very well inspire many more to leave the site, as well — including advertisers whose deep pockets have traditionally helped keep the site afloat.