Following the advertiser exodus from X, formerly known as Twitter, over concerns about antisemitic content on the site, X has lost another high-profile brand campaign. Paris Hilton’s 11:11 Media is also pulling out of its partnership with the platform. The campaign was a significant win for X, as it would have seen Hilton promoting key X features like live video, live e-commerce, X Spaces (live audio) and more over a two-year period.
Hilton had even contributed a sparkly pink custom icon for X’s Premium subscribers.
The deal terms were confidential but included a revenue-sharing component, although not on Premium upgrades to gain access to the new icon, we understand.
CNN was the first to report on the deal’s implosion, citing concerns about antisemitism and pro-Nazi content on the site as factors in 11:11 Media’s decision. The company also confirmed the decision to TechCrunch.
“11:11 Media made the decision to immediately pull the campaign from the platform,” Bruce Gersh, 11:11 Media’s president and chief operating officer, told the outlet.
Hilton’s media company is the latest in a long line of brands to have paused or stopped their spending on X due to brand safety concerns, joining other big names like Apple, Disney, Comcast, IBM, Warner Bros., Paramount, Lionsgate, and others. Brands are worried about the reputational damage that could occur if their ads appeared next to hate speech and antisemitic content. Despite X CEO Linda Yaccarino’s assurances that the platform has brand safety controls in place, a report from Media Matters showed how X was running ads next to hateful content. X claimed Media Matters manipulated its service, causing the ads to appear, rather than having found the ads in the wild. It then promptly sued for defamation.
But even X’s own complaint doesn’t dispute that the ads were real and running next to hate speech. It just didn’t like that Media Matters found a scenario where ads could skirt X’s brand safety protections in such a way.
Given these concerns, as well as Musk’s own endorsement of antisemitic conspiracy theories on the platform, many advertisers are reconsidering their X spend, potentially causing a significant impact on X revenues. Ahead of this advertiser pull-out, X’s ads business was on track for a 54.4% year-over-year decline in worldwide ad spending, from 2022 to 2023. Musk had also publicly stated X’s U.S. ad revenues were down by 60%, following pressure from the Anti-Defamation League, which accused the owner of antisemitism. (Musk, in turn, threatened to sue the ADL, as well.)
Update, 11/22/23, 12PM ET with company comment.