A top advertising executive revealed Sunday that new Twitter CEO Elon Musk blocked him on the social media platform following a phone meeting with others in the industry after the executive raised concerns that businesses have with the platform.
Lou Paskalis, who has years of experience as an executive in the banking industry, told Semafor that he has been a long-time supporter of the platform but that companies have serious questions now about how Twitter is being run because it increases their risk with customers.
“In my own individual experience in the last 48 hours, I’ve gone from wanting to dislike him for the way that he treated some of my good friends at Twitter, to being charmed by him on an influence council meeting on Thursday and recognizing that his intentions were noble and then watching him hack away at the foundation he established the previous day by being petulant and thoughtless,” Paskalis told the publication.
Paskalis said that it was something that he tweeted at Musk that got him blocked by the world’s richest man.
“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” Musk tweeted. “Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”
Paskalis responded on Friday, “Elon, Great chat yesterday, As you heard overwhelmingly from senior advertisers on the call, the issue concerning us all is content moderation and its impact on BRAND SAFETY/SUITABILITY. You say you’re committed to moderation, but you just laid off 75% of the moderation team!”
“Advertisers are not being manipulated by activist groups, they are being compelled by established principles around the types of companies they can do business with,” he claimed. “These principles include an assessment of the platforms commitment to brand safety and suitability. That includes the trustworthiness of the leadership team and the behavior of the CEO. You claimed yesterday that you are deeply committed to Content Moderation, yet today you’ve eliminated the vast majority of people who did that work for Twitter. How do we reconcile these?”
“So for all the replies I received that content moderation = denial of freedom of speech (it doesn’t),what do you say about the fact that the ‘chief twit’ just blocked me for exercising mine?” Paskalis added. “Yesterday, @elonmusk solicited ?s from marketers, today he’s blocking those who ask them.”
Many hours later, Paskalis said that pressure from journalists, others in the industry, and people inside Twitter convinced Musk to reverse his decision to block the executive.
Update: thanks to support from journalists, advertising industry colleagues and a couple of friends inside of @twitter, @elonmusk just unblocked me. Thank you, to all. I genuinely love this platform and want to see it thrive even though I disagree with recent personnel decisions pic.twitter.com/MsXCqNYvuD
— Lou Paskalis 🇺🇸 (@LouPas) November 5, 2022