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GM pauses ads on Twitter after Elon Musk’s acquisition

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Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

General Motors has temporarily halted advertising on Twitter after Tesla CEO Elon Musk completed his $44 billion acquisition of the social network on Friday (via CNBC). The automaker says it’s pausing paid advertising on Twitter to evaluate “the direction of the platform” under Musk’s leadership, but will continue to use the network to interact with customers.

“We are engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership,” an emailed statement provided to The Verge by GM spokesperson Dan Flores says. “As is normal course of business with a significant change in a media platform, we have temporarily paused our paid advertising. Our customer care interactions on Twitter will continue.”

It’s unclear whether GM’s decision to temporarily pull ads from Twitter stems from the company’s rivalry with Tesla, Musk’s vision of making Twitter a “free speech” platform, or both. On Thursday, a report from the Wall Street Journal highlighted advertisers’ concerns with the future of content moderation on the Musk-owned version of Twitter, as Musk has previously hinted at reversing former President Donald Trump’s ban. Musk attempted to reassure advertisers by posting a tweet saying he will not let Twitter become a “free-for-all hellscape,” but reiterated his goal of creating “a digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner.”

Twitter’s new owner has also said he would establish a “content moderation council” with members who have “widely diverse viewpoints,” and won’t make any major decisions to take down content or reinstate a user’s account without the council’s approval. Musk says he still has yet to make any changes to Twitter’s content moderation policies, but he promptly fired Twitter’s policy chief, Vijaya Gadde, after he assumed ownership of the company.

GM has doubled down on its efforts to compete with electric vehicle (EV) rivals like Tesla, increasing its investment in electric and autonomous vehicles to $35 billion through 2025, This past July, GM CEO Mary Barra told the Associated Press that she believes GM’s EVs will outsell Tesla by the middle of the decade, and earlier this month, the automaker announced plans to take over Tesla on the energy front as well, creating a new division to sell solar panels and batteries.

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