December 2, 2023

Bobbys Brane

Bobbys Brane – Business & Tech Blog

Most of ESPN’s accounts went dark after Disney dropped advertising on X

2 min read

Most of ESPN’s accounts were inactive yesterday after Disney announced on Friday that it was done advertising on X, formerly Twitter. Disney’s decision followed posts by platform owner Elon Musk agreeing with antisemitic and white power accounts. AwfulAnnouncing spotted the inactivity yesterday, noting that the main ESPN account has almost 50 million followers.

While a handful of the accounts had some activity, the primary ESPN account, NBA on ESPN, First Take, NFL on ESPN, ESPN Plus, and others have not posted, replied, or liked anything since at least Friday as of this writing. Other accounts, like ESPN FC, ESPN College Football, and SportsCenter, each posted or reposted once yesterday, while some, like the ESPN Desportes and ESPN PR account, were active throughout the day.

Disney joined other major advertisers like Apple, Warner Bros. Discovery, IBM, and Comcast / NBCUniversal. The exodus followed a report from nonprofit Media Matters pointing to Musk’s posts, as well as advertising that was showing up next to posts celebrating the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler.

X is one of the most popular places online to discuss sports, so ESPN’s accounts going dark could be trouble for the platform, at least symbolically. ESPN’s accounts going dark probably won’t silence discussion about sports like NFL football, college basketball, and Formula 1 today, but ESPN has a massive following on the platform, and it won’t be generating traffic with its own posts.

ESPN’s silence on X doesn’t appear to have benefitted Meta’s Threads — its primary account there hasn’t posted in weeks. There just hasn’t been a been a great way to keep up with specific conversations on Meta’s X alternative. That said, Threads started testing hashtags with post counts in Australia — if that feature eventually comes to the US, it might give it a little more of a realtime feel than the platform has had so far. Meanwhile, as AwfulAnnouncing noted in its story, the network has been active on Meta’s other platforms, Instagram and Facebook.

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