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X Races to Mitigate Fallout After Elon Musk Endorses Antisemitic Post

Elon Musk endorsed an antisemitic post on X as “the actual truth” of what Jewish people were doing, leading to IBM pausing its advertising on the social media platform. X’s chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, and others at the company are working to contain the fallout. IBM cut off about $1 million in advertising spending that it had committed to the platform for the last three months of the year. X employees received calls from advertisers questioning why Mr. Musk was making comments seen as antisemitic and why their ads were showing up next to white nationalist and Nazi content, according to internal messages.

In a note to employees, Ms. Yaccarino emphasized that “X is a platform for everyone” and that “discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board.” She stated that the company had been clear about its work to fight antisemitism and discrimination. IBM responded by stating it “has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination, and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation.”

X did not respond to a request for comment. The Financial Times earlier reported on IBM’s pause in advertising on X. Mr. Musk, who bought Twitter last year and renamed it X, has faced increasing criticism that he has tolerated and even encouraged antisemitic abuse on his social media platform. On Wednesday, Mr. Musk agreed with a post from an X account accusing Jewish communities of pushing “hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.”

Jewish groups have compared the statement that Mr. Musk endorsed to the “Great Replacement Theory,” the far-right idea that minorities are replacing white European populations. The American Jewish Committee, a U.S.-based Israel advocacy group, wrote on X on Thursday, “It is the deadliest antisemitic conspiracy theory in modern U.S. history. To amplify it on @X is incredibly dangerous.”

Social media platforms have faced rising scrutiny since Hamas attacked Israel last month and Israel retaliated. Antisemitic and Islamophobic hate speech has surged across the sites and has been especially prominent on X, according to the Anti-Defamation League and researchers. In September, Mr. Musk met with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, at a Tesla factory in the San Francisco Bay Area after facing accusations of antisemitism.

At X, Ms. Yaccarino has previously intervened in situations involving antisemitic content on the platform. This month, a sales employee flagged apparent antisemitic posts that the site had not removed, leading Ms. Yaccarino to ask that the posts be reviewed.

On Thursday morning, X sales employees asked about Mr. Musk’s posts and what they could relay to their clients, according to messages seen by The Times. They also cited an article from Media Matters for America, a left-wing advocacy group, which showed that ads from major brands were appearing on X next to posts promoting white nationalist and Nazi perspectives.

“A lot of large advertisers have been called out in this article,” one employee wrote. Another employee expressed concern about working with Apple, a major advertiser mentioned in the Media Matters piece, and asked if some of the posts “were manipulated.” An employee responded that the company’s trust and safety team was “actively looking into this.”

Mike Isaac and Kate Conger contributed reporting.

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