When it comes to making money from ads, Twitter may be in big trouble: GroupM, which is part of WPP, the biggest advertising company in the world and Twitter’s biggest spender, is reportedly telling its clients that buying ads on the platform is “high-risk.” This is according to Platformer and Digiday. That makes it the third advertising giant to suggest to big companies that they might want to spend their money somewhere else, after IPG and Omnicom Media Group did the same.
Google, L’Oréal, Bayer, Nestle, Unilever, Coke, and Mars are some of the companies that GroupM works with. If you’ve ever seen the Venn diagram that shows how a few companies make almost everything you buy at the grocery store, you’ll notice that there are a lot of overlaps between GroupM’s list of clients and the ones in the Venn diagram.
GroupM is reportedly worried about a few things after Elon Musk bought Twitter. In a document, it lists the large number of Twitter executives leaving or being fired (especially those in charge of safety, security, and compliance), the wave of high-profile impersonations by “verified” users, and Twitter’s ability to follow the Federal Trade Commission’s orders. GroupM wants to see a few things if Twitter wants to get rid of its “high-risk” label, according to a document seen by Digiday and a Slack message from Twitter’s agency partnerships lead that Platformer saw. On the list are:
- A return to NSFW levels from the beginning.
- New people in charge of IT security, privacy, trust, and safety.
- Putting in place internal checks and balances.
- Openness about plans that will affect the safety of users or brands, such as changes to community rules and policies for moderation.
- A promise to moderate content and the ability to enforce the rules of the platform.
To put it bluntly, these requests don’t surprise me at all. Companies don’t want their ads to be next to hate speech, conspiracy theories, or, worst of all, pictures of their beloved mascot giving people the middle finger.
GroupM didn’t answer right away when asked for a comment. Twitter no longer has a communications department that you can contact for these kinds of things. Platformer saw an internal message that said Twitter is “working through” GroupM’s needs with leadership.
Musk has said he wants to get Twitter to stop relying on ads to make money, but he isn’t there yet. One thing is that right now, a lot of people can’t even buy the company’s premium Blue subscription service because the company has temporarily stopped offering it. Musk has said that Twitter spends about $4 million a day, and he has also made Twitter pay big interest on the debt he used to buy it in the first place. Twitter needs money to keep going, but it looks like advertisers are getting less willing to give it to them.