It's been an expensive weekend for Elon Musk: as if seeing his SpaceX rocket explode wasn't bad enough, he's also been watching his ad revenue collapse. The beleaguered social network X, formerly Twitter, was already struggling to make money – and now a series of huge advertisers including Apple, Disney and IBM have pulled their advertising from the service.
It's a growing list, and it's particularly humiliating for CEO Linda Yaccarino: her former employer, NBC Universal, is one of the firms pulling ads. Other firms include Sony Pictures, Paramount and Warner Bros.
The firms are pulling their ads after Musk endorsed an antisemitic post, part of an ongoing pattern of behaviour that's seen Musk approving all kinds of inflammatory content. It coincides with a Media Matters investigation showing ads for IBM, Apple and Comcast being placed next to posts praising Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
It seems like quitting Twitter is the hot new social media trend. Here's how you can join in.
Leaving Twitter: the big three alternatives
There are lots of competing social networks, but the three big Twitter rivals are currently Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky. Each network has its fans and critics, and there are pros and cons for each.
Threads, owned by Meta, is the closed to a Twitter killer we've seen (and like Twitter, is owned by a billionaire – in this case Mark Zuckerberg). It's effectively a text-based Instagram, and Meta is throwing serious amounts of money at it: it's not feature complete yet, but it's adding new features weekly and after a post-launch dip appears to be doing very well. Here's how to sign up for Threads.
Bluesky is much smaller – 2 million users – and it's currently invite-only, although if you know someone with a Bluesky account there's a good chance they have invites going spare. It feels very much like early Twitter but some new arrivals find it too hard to discover new people. One of the crucial differences between Bluesky and both Threads and Twitter is that it doesn't have a For You algorithm: the only content in your feed is the content you choose to look at, whether that's people you follow or curated lists of people. For many users (hello!) that's a big plus, but it does make it harder to find interesting things.
Mastodon was here long before Bluesky and has a bit of an unfair reputation for stand-offishness and complexity. With third party apps such as the wonderful Ivory it's a real Twitter rival and while some of the language and politics around it can be a little off-putting, the upside is that nobody owns it so nobody can sell it to, say, a billionaire who might ruin it. Here's more about Mastodon and how to sign up for it.