Feds Advised to Stop Advertising on Twitter Due to ‘Risk of Brand Safety’

Cossette, the federal government’s “media agency of record,” has advised Ottawa to immediately stop advertising on Twitter following eccentric entrepreneur Elon Musk’s $44 billion USD acquisition of the platform on October 27 — reports CBC News.

The media agency on Friday issued guidance for federal departments to “pause activity immediately and monitor the situation over the weekend” due to “unknown continuity plans for moderation” and a “heightened risk of brand safety.”

Cossette provides the Canadian government with “media planning and strategizing, media buying, ad serving and trafficking, ad verification, reporting and reconciliation services.”

Twitter last week laid off roughly 50% of its workforce — somewhere around 3,700 employees — in a cost-cutting measure ordered by its new owner and CEO. The job cuts affected virtually every division and team within the company.

Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, Yoel Roth, said in a Friday tweet that only 15% of the team responsible for content moderation and safety on the platform was impacted, adding that “our core moderation capabilities remain in place.”

Musk similarly said that “Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged.”

Even so, Twitter is bleeding revenue as more and more advertisers, including the likes of General Motors, Pfizer, and Volkswagen, halt their spending with the platform due to uncertainty over its future direction in content moderation.

Musk previously assured advertising partners assurances that the platform will not devolve into a “free-for-all hellscape” on his watch, but they don’t seem entirely convinced.

According to the government’s most recent annual report on media expenditures, the feds spent over $3 million on Twitter ads through Cossette from 2020 to 2021.

Cossette also noted that Tuesday’s midterm elections could lead to “a lot of focus on the platform for abuse.” In light of the midterms, Twitter has decided to delay its new $7.99/month account verification subscription until after Election Day.