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Are Food & Beverage Companies Flipping The Bird at Elon Musk?

Nov. 9, 2022
As some food and beverage companies suspend their ad dollars on Twitter, one can't help but notice their complete silence on the app since the billionaire took over.

Professionally, I’m in charge of keeping Food Processing on social media channels. If you see a Facebook post, a LinkedIn post, an Instagram post or a Tweet coming from us, there’s a 99% chance I’m behind it.

On the personal front, I’m far more a lurker than a poster on the networks I am on. I ditched my Facebook last year and even before Elon Musk took over Twitter on October 27, I had considered putting that account on hiatus as well.

It seems I’m not the only one.

We’ve reported about how some of the major food companies have suspended their ads on Twitter following Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company.

When Musk took over the company last month, he claimed ‘freedom of speech’ for everyone and let previously-suspended users out of the Twitter prisons from which they had been sequestered in. Twitter prison, er suspension, was where you landed most often when you were using your 280 characters to repeatedly spew hateful rhetoric toward people or groups that you didn’t like.

When Ol’ Muskie let the hate speech-toting army go free, some companies fought back by withdrawing the money they’d been spending on ads.

Mondelez CEO Dirk Van de Put told Reuters on November 8, "What we’ve seen recently since the change on Twitter has been announced is the amount of hate speech increase significantly. We felt there is a risk our advertising would appear next to the wrong messages. As a consequence, we have decided to take a pause and a break until that risk is as low as possible."

I don’t blame Mondelez. Or General Mills, or frankly any other company that doesn’t want their content – ads or otherwise – sitting right next to some antisematic or racist rant from an incel still living in his mother’s basement.

Time to Leave?

As I was prepping a post about Twitter for Twitter today, I started poking around at a handful of our Top 100 companies to see how active they’ve been on Twitter in the last two weeks. The silence was almost defeating. I understand the suspension of ads, but not even a Communications or PR post was to be found on some of the accounts I saw.

It’s as though the companies are collectively flipping Elon Musk the bird and taking their contributions elsewhere.

When I decided last year to delete my Facebook account, I took an inventory of how often it helped me vs. how often it irritated me. I didn’t need a Facebook feed to tell me who the racists among us were and I certainly didn’t need an app that would constantly remind me of the people in my life that lack critical thinking skills. Facebook lost the battle and I ceremoniously removed myself for good on New Year’s Eve of 2021

I wonder if some of these large companies that used to look to Twitter as a means to communicate with the masses are starting to do a similar inventory. Maybe it’s time to fly away from the big blue bird and on to other apps while simultaneously telling Elon where he can stick his tolerance for hate speech.

About the Author

Erin A. Hallstrom

Erin Hallstrom oversaw our digital content strategy for the Food Processing brand from 2008-2023. She is now the Associate Director of SEO Strategy for Endeavor Business Media, where she holds technical certifications in both website analytics and search engine optimization. Most recently, she was named the 2022 Marianne Dekker Mattera Award Winner

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