Twitter To Add Advertising Controls Based On Keywords

Twitter plans to implement new controls to enable brands to stop their ads from appearing above or below tweets that include certain keywords.

The controls could be rolled out as soon as next week, according to Reuters, which first broke the news.

In a Thursday email to advertisers, Twitter said it would today start rolling out a revamped Twitter Blue program that lets accounts receive verified check marks: blue ones for individual accounts and gold and gray ones for business and government accounts. The subscription price will be $7 per month on the web and $11 per month on Apple devices, per Reuters sources.

Twitter also told advertisers that it has removed ads from profiles that The Washington Post earlier this week reported were white nationalists' accounts. 

And in a call with an unnamed "advertising industry group" on Thursday, a Twitter rep reportedly said that the company is considering bringing content moderators in-house. Many moderators are contracted through third parties. Twitter has claimed that its content moderation operation has not been impacted by its having slashed half of its workforce, but its new head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, recently told Reuters that Twitter plans to use more automated content moderation.

Twitter is attempting to win back advertisers that have paused their investment on the platform due to concerns about brand safety based on new Twitter CEO Elon Musk's reinstatement of banned accounts, including those of former president Donald Trump, conspiracy theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin. 

Musk last week suspended Kanye West for anti-Semitic posts, but has also launched a "mass unbanning" of accounts that includes a number of conspiracy theorists and others who have repeatedly broken Twitter's rules--even though Musk has claimed that Twitter's rules have not been changed. (Software developer/researcher Travis Brown has created a data set of unbanned accounts, reports CNN Business.)

Civil rights organizations tracking Twitter have reported that hate speech has increased as banned and suspended accounts have been reinstated, and Musk recently asserted that these groups' pressure on advertisers to boycott Twitter has resulted in a "massive" drop in revenue for the platform.

Musk previously claimed that Twitter would establish a board to make decisions about which accounts should be reinstated, but there has been no evidence of involvement by such a body.

Apple and Amazon now reportedly plan to resume advertising on Twitter, but other big brands have remained wary, creating a serious financial crunch for the platform. 

Platformer journalist Zoë Schiffer also tweeted that Twitter is offering incentives to top advertisers to counteract a loss of revenue, citing a source that said Twitter will match any advertiser spending over $500,000.

Twitter earns almost 90% of its revenue from selling digital ads.

In May, weeks after Musk’s acquisition of Twitter began and five months before it concluded, Twitter had 3,980 advertisers on the platform; by October, it had 2,315, after half of the platform's top 100 advertisers pulled their spending. Those advertisers had already spent a combined $750 million on Twitter ads in 2022, accounting for nearly $2 billion of the company’s ad revenue since 2020. Sources told the The New York Times that Twitter’s ad revenue was 80% below expectations as of November 20.

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