Elon Musk buyout and eventual instatement as CEO of social media platform Twitter has raised plenty of concern among automakers given his ongoing position at Tesla, their major rival in the EV space.
If we didn’t know any better, we’d say that he’s got them triggered. And who can really blame them. He has known to sound off some eyebrow-raising tweets from time to time and once posted “I hate advertising.”
Since Musk’s first day helming the micro-blogging site, the rumours have been swirling about the man’s agenda pushing within the company in addition to public/leaked information of incoming layoffs and corporate restructuring to make Twitter more profitable, including making the platform a paid-only service.
When it comes to automakers, though, most if not all within their marketing spheres are at least wary of this development. Some major brands and automotive groups have decided to outright withdraw their advertising spend on the platform.
This was unofficial boycott was led by Audi USA, but later expanded to include the entirety of the Volkswagen Group (Porsche, Bugatti-Rimac, Skoda, SEAT, Lamborghini, Bentley, Ducati) who, in a statement to Reuters, said: "We are closely monitoring the situation and will decide about the next steps depending on its evolvement.”
Since these companies are now liable to disclose sensitive information within the platform, one now owned by a rival automaker’s CEO, practices such as private messages and the tweeting about sales, promotions, new model teasers and such will come with an undertone of paranoia.
Fellow American automotive brand Ford has also come out admitting it has halted all advertising spend on Twitter following Musk’s takeover, and the same goes with General Motors. A spokesperson for GM said that the company was "engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under new ownership.”
Stellantis, the 4th largest automaker by volume, has taken a less aggressive stance, saying that it will continue to monitor all social media channels involved with its brands and will stay “vigilant” of any untoward activity or behaviour.
Beyond automotive, there are plenty of other brands that have been observed responding similarly to their involvement with the Twitter platform, ranging from cosmetics to big food.
Currently, it is estimated that advertising accounts for 90% of Twitter’s revenue.