Staff Reporters
Aug 10, 2023

Elon’s ‘X’ introduces new sensitivity controls in a bid to win back jilted advertisers

The social media platform is doing everything it can to lure back flailing ad revenue, as Musk recently revealed a 50% drop in numbers following concerns from buyers regarding safety, content and much more.

Photo: Getty Images.
Photo: Getty Images.

In the latest round of announcements from X (formerly Twitter), Elon Musk has revealed the introduction of sensitivity controls to lure back advertisers put off by ongoing security and content issues plaguing the social media network.

The new controls allow advertisers to choose between three settings, two of which are already available: Conversative, standard and relaxed (coming soon), using “machine learning to reduce adjacency to varying levels of content according to a brand’s sensitivity threshold in an upcoming campaign.” However, X will still block all content in breach of its policies from appearing next to ads regardless of the advertiser’s settings.

Under the new sensitivity measures, the ‘conservative’ category ads will not be presented alongside any content that promotes hate speech, sexually explicit material, violence, profanity, abuse, spam, or drugs. For ‘standard’ controls, drug-related content will be omitted, as well as hate speech and spam; whilst ‘relaxed’ will restrict the display of sexually explicit and hate speech material, targeting brands looking for mass reach for audiences.

With ad revenues dipping by 50%, this update is the most recent in a round of changes announced at the social media company, who previously also introduced other keyword-based ‘adjacency controls’, in a bid to restrict advertisers' exposure to problematic content. However, this seems to have had a minimal effect in terms of driving forward buyers, who remain cautiously watchful of Musk and new CEO Linda Yaccarino’s strategic direction for X. In July this year, the Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) center revealed that hate speech had surged since Musk had taken over, resulting in the billionaire suing the group for alleged illegal scraping of data from the platform.

Yesterday, Australia's broadcast corporation 'ABC' also announced it will be shutting down almost all of its official accounts on Twitter, citing “toxic interactions”, cost and exploring other platforms as reasoning. Only four official accounts for Australia’s public broadcaster will remain active: @abcnews, @abcsport, @abcchinese and @abcaustralia.

“Starting from today, other ABC accounts will be discontinued,” David Anderson, managing director for ABC shared with staff, in accordance with a report from The Guardian.

Musk has retaliated by accusing the ABC of embracing censorship. 


Campaign Asia

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