Elon Musk explains last year’s ‘Go f— yourself’ to advertisers

Elon Musk broadened his explanation of why he told advertisers to “Go f— yourself’ last year as companies stopped pushing their products on X, the social media platform he bought that was formerly known as Twitter.

Musk is in Cannes, France, speaking at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival, where he had a one-on-one interview with WPP CEO Mark Read in front of a live audience.

Last year, Musk told advertisers who chose to pull their ads from X to “go f— yourself” in an interview with CNBC.

Musk has held that stance for some time, but explained his words in Cannes earlier today:

“It wasn’t to advertisers as a whole. It was with respect to freedom of speech, I think it is important to have a global free speech platform, where people from a wider range of opinions can voice their views. In some cases, there were advertisers who were insisting on censorship…if we have to make a choice between censorship and losing money, censorship and money, or free speech and losing money, we’re going to choose the second.”

Musk has been a proponent of free speech for several years, defending his platform and his choice to allow content of any kind on X as long as it does not threaten a person or expose their private information. There are also restrictions on non-consensual nudity.

According to the X Terms & Conditions page, violent content is allowed on the platform as long as it is properly labeled. However, account owners cannot affiliate with or promote the activities of violent or hateful entities. There is a zero-tolerance policy for child exploitation, and there are restrictions on abuse/harassment and hateful conduct.

This has been where advertisers have felt pressure to take a stance on X, and some companies ultimately chose to stop putting ads on the platform. Apple, Sony, General Motors, and Disney were companies that chose to stop advertising on X for at least a short period of time.

Musk said that it is important for X to take a stance on free speech, and that comes with it being prioritized over ad dollars, which he said he thinks “is the right moral decision.”

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