Elon Musk, the Twitter CEO reportedly struggling to engage on his social media platform, personally asked Twitter users to like a car ad for Hyundai on Friday. It was the latest sign that Musk may have run out of ideas on how to make Twitter profitable.
“Press heart,” Musk tweeted to his followers on Friday about the car ad.
The ad, which features actor Kevin Bacon and his daughter Sosie Bacon, is for the Hyundai Ioniq 6 electric car, which is a direct competitor to Tesla, Musk’s own electric vehicle company.
“Sosie Bacon worries as @kevinbacon has his dad blown away by the all-electric Hyundai #IONIQ6,” read the tweet, which also includes a video.
Hundreds of Musk’s nearly 129 million followers dutifully pressed the heart button, some even record videos of themselves doing so, but the publicity engagement was still miniscule compared to Musk’s reach. The ad had only been viewed 53,000 times, according to views on the platform, with just 2,550 likes at the time of this writing. Oddly enough, Musk’s tweet to “press the heart” currently has more likes (3,077) than the ad he was trying to promote.
Musk is likely getting nervous heading into Sunday’s Super Bowl game, if only because big national and international events can challenge Twitter’s servers at the best of times. But a recent outage has reportedly prompted Musk not to request any further deployment changes until after the big game, an effort to ensure the social media platform can handle a large influx of traffic.
Many automakers halted advertising on Twitter after the Musk takeover, not just because Musk owns Tesla, but because many brands worried about extremist accounts being allowed back on the platform. And it remains to be seen if advertisers are really comfortable returning to Twitter in large numbers.
Despite Musk’s previous claims to be a “free speech absolutist”, the billionaire has shut down accounts with anti-Semitic content, including from his friend Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. Nick Fuentes, a white supremacist, was banned from the platform just a day after restoring his account last month, according to Reuters. Fuentes spewed anti-Semitic garbage as he always does, though it’s unclear what Musk was expecting when he allowed such accounts to return.
Musk also insisted he would never let conspiracy theory host Alex Jones back on the platform about the InfoWars peddler’s previous lies about the mass shooting at Sandy Elementary School. Hook in 2012, where 20 children and six adults were massacred. Jones had said the shooting was a hoax, but revised his opinion after being sued by surviving families for defamation.
However, there are other controversial accounts that have been restored and continue to tweet, including former adviser to President Donald Trump, Roger Stone and the President himself. However, Trump has not tweeted personally since his account was restored. Trump reportedly has an exclusive deal with his own social media platform, Truth Social, and it’s unclear if he’s still allowed to tweet if he wanted to.
But only time will tell if Musk can turn Twitter into the cash cow he hopes for. Musk has announced an ad revenue-sharing deal with creators, though details on the program are scarce. The only requirement for users to get paid: They must subscribe to Twitter Blue, Musk’s $8-a-month subscription plan. To date, only 140,000 people have subscribed to the plan, according to figures from the New York Times. Needless to say, Musk isn’t making much if that number is to be believed.