GM temporarily suspends advertising on Twitter after Musk takeover

GM temporarily suspends advertising on Twitter after Musk takeover

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

The Detroit automaker, a rival of Musk’s Teslasaid it is “pausing” advertising while it evaluates Twitter’s new direction. It will continue to use the platform to interact with customers but not pay for advertising, GM said.

“We are engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership. As is normal business with a significant change in a media platform, we have temporarily suspended our paid advertising. Our customer service on Twitter will continue,” the company said in an email postal message.

Under CEO Mary Barra, the Detroit company was among the first automakers to announce billions of dollars in spending to better compete against Tesla for electric vehicles.

A General Motors sign is seen during an event on January 25, 2022 in Lansing, Michigan. – General Motors will create 4,000 new jobs and retain 1,000, and significantly increase production capacity for battery cells and electric trucks.

Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | Getty Images

Other car companies, included Ford Motor, Stellar and Alphabet-owned Waymo, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether it plans to halt advertising or stop using the social media platform in the wake of Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter. Electric truck manufacturer Nicholas said they had no plans to change anything about Twitter.

The future direction of Twitter has been at the center of Musk’s takeover of the social media platform. Musk has said he is a “free speech absolute” who would restore the account of former President Donald Trump, who was banned for his tweets during the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. On Friday, Musk said he plans a “content moderation council” and will not reinstate any accounts or make important content decisions until convened.

Musk also said in a statement to advertisers this week that he cannot allow Twitter to become a “free for all hellscape.”

Henrik Fisker, CEO of EV startup Fisherman Inc., deleted his Twitter account earlier this year when Twitter’s board accepted Musk’s bid to buy the company and take it private. Fisker Inc. continues to use Twitter, which all major automotive brands use for customer engagement and marketing.

Musk has long boasted that Tesla doesn’t pay for traditional advertising, a cost that has increased for traditional automaker brands over the years.

Instead, Tesla rewards people who run, or are members of, Tesla Owners Clubs as well as other social media influencers who promote the company’s products, stock and Musk on social networks, particularly Twitter and YouTube, as well as on fan blogs.

They often get early access to Tesla products, such as the company’s Full Self Driving Beta software, and get passes to Tesla events where attendance is limited.

In September 2020, Tesla weighed a shareholder proposal to begin strategic, paid advertising to educate the public about its vehicles and charging network. The Tesla board recommended it, and shareholders voted with the board against starting to pay for traditional ad campaigns.

In the company’s 2021 annual report, 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 current primary drivers of our sales leads and has helped us achieve sales without traditional advertising and at relatively low marketing costs.”

It reported marketing, advertising and advertising expenses that were immaterial for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019 in financial filings with the SEC.

— CNBC’s John Rosevear contributed to this report.

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