Billionaire Elon Musk erroneously blamed "activist groups" for a "massive drop" in Twitter's ad revenue after multiple companies stopped advertising on the platform after he officially purchased it for $44 billion.
Fresh off acquiring the platform—which he'd repeatedly claimed needs to go private if it wants to become a platform for free speech—Musk claimed that the aforementioned "activist groups" successfully pressured advertisers "even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease" them.
Calling the whole situation "Extremely messed up," Musk accused this nameless group of "trying to destroy free speech in America."
You can see Musk's tweet below.
Shortly after Musk posted his tweet, Twitter added a fact-check disclaimer and posted links to multiple news stories explaining that the advertising exodus has happened amid concerns about Musk's vision for the platform "especially as related to content moderation."
The disclaimer was meant to provide additional "context" to Musk's claim but Musk ultimately deleted it, suggesting that his concerns about content moderation don't apply to his own misleading tweets.
Nimble Twitter users managed to post screenshots of the fact-check disclaimer before it disappeared.
Several high-profile companies, including General Mills and Volkswagen, confirmed to CNN that they would be pausing advertisements on Twitter due to concerns about Musk's ownership of the platform. Others, like Toyota and Interpublic Group, the parent company of Coca-Cola, also recommended that their clients pause advertising on Twitter.
Criticisms about Musk's leadership style have been magnified in light of his decision to layoff roughly half the workforce, including employees who were on work visas. There was no advance warning for who would or would not be subject to the cuts, and at least one Twitter employee told reporters that they were booted from company systems in the middle of a meeting.
His tantrum—and hypocrisy over content moderation—have only fueled his detractors.
This is the second time in just over a week that Musk has been called out for spreading false information on Twitter.
In the aftermath of the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi, who survived after being repeatedly struck with a hammer during a home invasion, Musk shared an article from the far-right Santa Monica Observer claiming that Pelosi was attacked by a lover he met at a bar in the middle of the night.
There is no truth to that allegation, and local authorities confirmed that Pelosi and his attacker—who has been charged with attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, and burglary—did not know each other.