Bestselling horror novelist Stephen King and new Twitter owner Elon Musk went head-to-head again on the faltering social media platform this week over the exodus of advertisers.
“Pretty soon the only advertiser left on Twitter will be My Pillow,” King wrote in a mocking tweet Tuesday, referring to the bedding company owned by zany “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell, who still baselessly claims the 2020 election was rigged.
Musk lamely fired back: “Oh hi lol. Is My Pillow actually a great pillow? Now I’m curious.”
Advertisers are leaving Twitter in droves because of controversy over increasing misinformation and hate speech — and hijacked accounts — in the wake of Musk’s Twitter takeover last month.
The Washington Post has reported that more than a third of Twitter’s top 100 marketers have not posted any advertising on the site in the past two weeks, and that Musk “can’t afford” to lose any more.
One such advertiser, the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, suspended its account after a hacked Eli Lilly Twitter account promised free insulin. The profile had a “verified” blue checkmark, which must have been selling for $8 a month.
Twitter now faces the prospect of “losing out on millions of dollars in ad revenue,” Amy O’Connor, a former senior communications official at Eli Lilly, told the Post.
“What’s the benefit to a company … of staying on Twitter?” O’Connor asked. “It’s not worth the risk when patient trust and health are on the line.”
The advertiser situation is likely to only get worse. Musk announced Thursday that beginning next week, he’ll allow some accounts that had been suspended for violating Twitter policies “amnesty” to return to the platform.
He promised the relief would only apply to accounts that have not broken laws or “engaged in egregious spam.”
Musk allowed Donald Trump back on Twitter last weekend. But the former president has not posted any new tweets.
Musk polled Twitter users before allowing Trump’s return and the amnesty for other suspended accounts, claiming the majority of respondents favored the moves.