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‘Just flailing right now’: Users complain that Twitter ads have become ‘invasive,’ ‘f*cking garbage’

Elon Musk letting neo-Nazis back on Twitter certainly isn't helping.


Claire Goforth


Posted on Dec 27, 2022

Elon Musk’s short tenure as the owner of Twitter has been tumultuous. Since he took over, the platform has been flooded with complaints about the user experience and dissatisfaction with the rapid series of policy changes and reversals he’s implemented.

Driving revenue is among the biggest obstacles the platform is facing. Half of the platform’s top 100 advertisers fled Twitter weeks after Musk’s takeover. As he struggles to find a way to make the $44 billion investment profitable, users are growing increasingly confounded by the content, frequency, and placement of promoted tweets.

Recent advertisements floating across users’ timelines include one for a trap that promises to catch “a bucket of rats” in a single night, another for a “low rent” video game, and an ad for an artificial intelligence program to “create your own reality” and somehow “get NSFW pictures from her.”

People are unimpressed.

“The ads are getting increasingly obscure and pathetic,” one user posted on Tuesday.

How often people see these ads and where has also become a sore spot. Many have complained that promoted tweets are coming across their feed far too often.

“It’s happening to us all. I only see ads now,” journalist Sophia A. Nelson tweeted on Tuesday.

Twitter appears to have recently placed ads at the top of the feed, so they’re the first thing people see when they log on.

Judging by the reactions, people hate it.

“Hey, @elonmusk—why in the hell am I seeing so many adverts as first tweets? I don’t follow any corporations or products but the ads are invasive. Especially the betting and crypto adverts. Its fucking garbage. Make it stop,” wrote @r3dmund.

One user suggested that this may be a strategy to pad the view count and increase ad revenue, because the ad counts as being seen whether or not people interact with it.

To avoid the inundation of promotions for cryptocurrency and buckets of rats—and partly to punish Musk—Twitter users have begun blocking brands that advertise on the platform.

“Just saw a Merrill Lynch ad on my tl. Good to know where they stand… blocked,” wrote one.

Musk is actively trying to lure brands back to Twitter. In a recent conversation on Twitter Spaces, he claimed that the company used to focus on impressions but under his leadership is now aiming for relevance and engagement.

Thus far, these efforts are proving unsuccessful. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that 70% of the platform’s top advertisers from prior to Musk’s takeover aren’t currently buying ads.

Musk himself is part of the problem. Many brands have indicated that his abrupt policy changes, unsuspending accounts that were banned for hate speech, and controversial tweets are making them reticent to spend money on the platform.

“[Musk] has made it so that advertisers can’t avoid the association. He created that vulnerability and he continues to double down on it,” Irwin Gotlieb, a former chief executive of ad-buying giant GroupM, told the Journal.

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*First Published: Dec 27, 2022, 12:28 pm CST