For a company that relies on ad revenue to survive, losing said ad revenue is a very bad thing. Unfortunately for Elon Musk’s newest venture, that’s exactly what’s happening. When the FIFA World Cup started in Qatar on Nov. 20, stateside ad revenue for Twitter came in at 80 percent below expectations, per a New York Times report.
Those are just expectations for one week, mind you, but they don’t paint a rosy picture of what’s going on at Twitter right now. The World Cup is the biggest showcase for the world’s most popular sport and it only happens every four years, so it should be a time of massive ad revenue for Twitter. However, according to the Times, it hasn’t been. Per the Times, Twitter’s internal revenue projections for the final quarter of 2022 have been slashed from $1.4 billion to $1.1 billion.
The explanation for this is that advertisers have been fleeing Twitter en masse ever since Musk took over in late October. Half of the site’s top advertisers are reportedly gone, including heavy hitters like Chipotle, Ford, and Chevrolet. Musk has reinstated controversial banned accounts and shut down the site’s COVID misinformation policy, and the thinking is that big brands don’t want their ads to be seen next to offensive tweets.
A separate report from the Times found that hate speech has risen sharply on Twitter since the Musk takeover, too.
As Musk’s ownership of Twitter continues, it will certainly be interesting to see if his free speech absolutism eventually has to give way to good business sense.