Volkswagen said on Friday that it has recommended to the group’s brands to pause paid advertising on Twitter until further notice. The move closely follows Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media platform.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and will decide about next steps depending on its evolvement,” Volkswagen said in a statement, according to Reuters. The automaker owns the Volkswagen brand, Seat, Cupra, Ducati, Škoda, Lamborghini, Bentley, and Porsche. It also owns Audi USA, which confirmed to Carscoops that it “has paused paid support on Twitter and will continue to evaluate the situation.”
The social media platform was recently purchased by Elon Musk for $44 billion. The new owner entered its office a week ago bearing a sink, which BBC News reports is a likely reference to “kitchen sinking,” which in business refers to making radical changes at a company.
Read: Twitter Employees Get That Sinking Feeling As “Chief Twit” Elon Musk Arrives At HQ
Dear Twitter Advertisers pic.twitter.com/GMwHmInPAS
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2022
While Twitter’s employees fear for their livelihood – the New York Times reports that layoffs have begun today – users fear for the future of the social media platform. Musk, who describes himself as a “free speech absolutist,” has stoked fears that the site will relax moderating standards and become overrun by trolls and hate speech.
Although VW did not say specifically what caused it to pause paid support on the site, the move comes after Musk attempted to ease advertisers’ fears and promised not to turn Twitter into a “free-for-all hellscape.”
Read: GM Halts Advertising On Twitter As Tesla’s Elon Musk Takes Over
The automaker is far from the only one reevaluating its support for the site. General Motors recently announced a similar move to the platform’s new ownership. Henrik Fisker, the owner of Fisker Inc., said earlier this year that he objected to using a site run by Musk, who also owns Tesla, one of his competitors. That sentiment was echoed by Citroën, in a post on the platform.
Volkswagen, though, has recently had a more comfortable relationship with Musk. Its former chairman, Herbert Diess, was very friendly with the Tesla CEO and, in 2021, asked him to tell VW’s executives how Tesla operates. Diess was ousted earlier this year, though, as he reportedly struggled to gather support within the executive ranks at the company and ruffled many feathers in his time there.
At Twitter, meanwhile, it remains unclear how the news of these advertising pauses will impact the company. Share prices over the last five days, though, have fallen 8.75 percent.
Hello to the social media platform owned by one of our competitors
— Citroën (@Citroen) October 28, 2022