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A third of key advertisers have stopped marketing on Twitter since Elon Musk takeover, report claims

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

More than a third of Twitter’s biggest advertisers have stopped marketing on the site since Elon Musk’s takeover, according to a new report.

The new findings suggest that the company could be suffering considerable problems as a result of Mr Musk’s controversial purchase of the site.

The new chief executive has suggested that activists are pressuring advertisers to keep themselves off the site, in an attempt to weaken the site amid his ownership.

But companies have said instead that the problem is worries about “brand safety”, presumably as a result of weakened content moderation. Mr Musk has fired more than half of Twitter’s staff, many of whom worked both to sell ads and to ensure that they did not appear near problematic posts.

“Mars started suspending advertising activities on Twitter in late September when we learned of some significant brand safety and suitability incidents that impacted our brand,” the company told the Washington Post, which first reported the data from analytics brand Pathmatics.

Other major companies to pull advertising include Kellogg, Verizon and pharmaceutical company Merck, the Washington Post analysis showed.

In all, more than a third of the site’s top 100 marketers have not advertised on the social network in the last two weeks, it said. Some 14 of the top 50 have not advertised since Mr Musk took over the company.

The difficulties with advertising may not only be a result of Mr Musk’s takeover. Increasing worries about the economic situation in the US mean that many advertisers may be less willing to spend on marketing in an attempt to widen their market share.

But either way the difficulties could pause problems for Mr Musk. Twitter made almost 90 per cent of its revenue from licensing last year.

The new chief executive has suggested that he will be leaning heavily into subscriptions and memberships instead. He has repeatedly pushed a new $8 “Twitter Blue” service that will include perks such as a blue check next to people’s names – though he has also been forced to repeatedly delay the rollout of that feature, as a result of widespread impersonation.