Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Twitter's Ad Ecosystem in 2024: Challenges with Bad Actors, Bots, and Advertiser Concerns


In 2024, Twitter's advertising landscape has undergone significant changes and faced numerous challenges. From the introduction of a new ad revenue sharing program to the increasing concerns about bots and bad actors, Twitter's platform has become a complex field for advertisers, content creators, and users alike.

Ad Revenue Sharing Program and Its Implications

Under Elon Musk's ownership, Twitter launched a creator revenue sharing program that allows content creators to earn a share of the revenue generated from ads appearing in their reply threads. This program has been lucrative for several right-wing figures and influencers, some known for spreading misinformation and extremist content, collectively earning over $80,000. Companies like Mondelez International, The Wall Street Journal, HBO, Apple, and FinanceBuzz.io were among the top spenders on Twitter ads, inadvertently funding content from controversial figures​​.

Advertiser Withdrawal and Trust Issues

The implementation of the ad revenue sharing program and concerns about content moderation led several major advertisers to suspend or reduce their ad spending on Twitter. Companies such as General Motors, Volkswagen, Audi, and Pfizer paused their ads due to concerns over content moderation under Musk's leadership. This withdrawal reflects a broader trend of advertisers reassessing their engagement with the platform amid concerns about the promotion of harmful content and the effectiveness of Twitter's content moderation​​​​.

Rise of Bots and Fake Traffic

Another significant issue facing Twitter's ad ecosystem is the rise of bots and fake traffic, particularly during political events. A study by CHEQ found that a substantial portion of site visits from Twitter's paid channels were marked as invalid, coming from fake accounts, spam bots, click farms, and other malicious traffic. This activity suggests a significant amount of ad spend on Twitter could be lost to these fraudulent activities, with estimates suggesting that about $658 million in annual ad spend is potentially wasted on bots and fake users​​.

The Response from Twitter

In response to these challenges, Twitter announced plans to introduce new controls for ad placements. This initiative aims to provide better moderation, especially for non-English languages, and to reassure advertisers of the safety and appropriateness of ad placements on the platform. Despite significant layoffs, Twitter's new head of trust and safety assured that the moderation team was not significantly affected​​.


Twitter's ad ecosystem in 2024 is marked by a balancing act between revenue generation, responsible content moderation, and maintaining advertiser confidence. The platform's challenges with bad actors, bots, and advertiser concerns reflect the complexities of managing a social media platform in an era of heightened scrutiny over online content and advertising practices. As Twitter navigates these issues, the outcome will likely have significant implications for the future of online advertising, content moderation, and the role of social media in public discourse.

The situation underscores the need for ongoing vigilance and innovation in dealing with sophisticated online threats, both for platforms like Twitter and for the broader digital advertising industry. Advertisers, platforms, and regulators will need to continue adapting their strategies to ensure a safe, trustworthy, and effective online advertising environment.


Media Matters for America: Overview of Twitter's ad revenue sharing program and its impact​​.

Various sources: Discussion on major advertisers suspending their ads on Twitter due to content moderation concerns​​​​.

CHEQ's study: Analysis of the rise of bots and fake traffic on Twitter, and its financial implications for advertisers​​.

Reuters: Twitter's response to the challenges, including new controls for ad placements and assurance from the head of trust and safety​​.

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