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Ubisoft Has “paused” Its Twitter Advertising


After it was discovered that their advertisements were running alongside pro-Nazi content, a number of well-known advertisers suspended their use of the platform

Following a report by Media Matters alleging that the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, has been showing advertisements for businesses like Apple, IBM, NBCUniversal, and Comcast owner Xfinity next to pro-Nazi content, Ubisoft has confirmed that it has joined other major companies in pausing their advertising on the platform. X disputes the notion that ordinary users will see these advertisements next to extremist content and asserts that Media Matters deliberately altered a feed to achieve that outcome.

A lengthy list of businesses has chosen to stop running advertisements on X, at least temporarily, including IBM, Apple, Disney, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, Xfinity, Sony, and many more. This decision could be very harmful for a platform that is already experiencing a drop in advertising revenues.

To our knowledge, Ubisoft is the first significant game publisher to take this action. In a statement given to PC Gamer, a representative confirmed the decision, which was first reported by Axios. However, no other information was disclosed, including the rationale behind the pause. Ubisoft had been using X to run advertisements for Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR, according to the Axios report.

Under Elon Musk’s leadership, X has experienced a sharp drop in user base and valuation. These trends can be attributed to Musk’s reluctance to control content, his open support of antisemitism, and his perplexing technological choices. This has in the past caused Blizzard, Microsoft, and Sony to discontinue X integration in their respective games and gaming systems, but this is distinct: a significant withdrawal of well-known advertisers due to their supposed placement of advertisements next to content that supports Nazi ideology.

Rejecting the Media Matters report, CEO Linda Yaccarino of X urged users—as well as, I assume, advertisers—to “stand with X.” “Not a single authentic user on X saw IBM’s, Comcast’s, or Oracle’s ads next to the content in Media Matters’ article,” Yaccarino tweeted. “Only 2 users saw Apple’s ad next to the content, at least one of which was Media Matters.”

After reading the report, X sued Media Matters (through the BBC) on the grounds that it “threatening X’s relationships with massive multinational advertisers and global publishers.” The statement also admits that “fringe content” was accompanied by advertisements from well-known brands, but it claims that this was only possible because Media Matters used the accounts it follows “to manufacture an inorganic user experience aimed at creating controversial content and big-name advertisers.”

“Media Matters set its account to follow only 30 users (far less than the average number of accounts followed by a typical active user, 219), severely limiting the amount and type of content featured on its feed,” as stated in the X lawsuit. These individuals were all either accounted for X’s sponsors or were well-known for sharing contentious images.

“An internal review by X revealed that Media Matters’ account started to alter its scrolling and refreshing activities in an attempt to manipulate inorganic combinations of advertisements and content. Media Matters’ excessive scrolling and refreshing generated between 13 and 15 times more advertisements per hour than would be seen by a typical user, essentially seeking to force a situation in which a brand ad post appeared adjacent to fringe content. Eventually, through intentionally evading X’s multiple safeguards by curating the content on its feed and then repeatedly attempting to create pairings of advertisements for major brands with controversial content, Media Matters finally achieved its goal.”