On MSNBC, Angelo Carusone explains why Twitter and Elon Musk need to listen to blue-chip advertisers

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Citation From the October 30, 2022, edition of MSNBC's American Voices with Alicia Menendez

RICHARD LUI (MSNBC ANCHOR): So you know which Elon Musk is going to show up, right? Ben and Angelo, here, is it going to be the Elon Musk of SpaceX where he's more hands-off or is it the Elon Musk of Tesla where he's in every single bolt?

ANGELO CARUSONE (MEDIA MATTERS PRESIDENT): I think – when somebody says what they're going to do, especially musk, we should believe them. So in this case, he's already talked about what he thinks Twitter or others need to do. He – for years, well before he put an acquisition – has said that there needs to be a mechanism by which more people are being red-pilled. So that is the process by which you move from, you know, seeing the light – to becoming sort of an extremist. And so if that's something he was lamenting three years ago on Twitter, actually, that there wasn't enough tools that did that. And now he's in charge of a major social media platform that has the algorithmic power to do just that – that's what's – who's I think is going to show up, somebody that's going to leverage the power of Twitter to actually transform not just the platform, but the entire information ecosystem in a way that makes it much more further to the right.

LUI: And talk about checks and balances. You've been talking about this on your social platforms as well. The idea of what advertisers might play in this.

CARUSONE: Yeah, I think there's a really important thing to consider. Unlike other platforms, where you have direct response – which are those ones that you sell ads, you know, call the number / sell ads.

Twitter is different. They really just need blue-chip advertisers.

And because they really need blue-chip advertisers, there's a very small set of them that actually have disproportionate influence. I don't think they need to run away right now, although I would be happy if they wanted to send a message.

But the easiest message they can send is to call and say, Here's our red lines. What are you doing about brand safety and community safeguards? And if you're planning on rolling them back, we're walking. And not just do that behind closed doors, make it public so that there actually is some clarity.

Musk does need that money. Let's remember, this is not cash in a bank – he had to borrow money to buy this company. He needs to service a whole range of debt or that he has elsewhere. This is a thing that he has to deal with. He needs this revenue and it could be evaporated overnight if these advertisers set some bright lines. It's totally reasonable.