Musk talks X advertising, birth rate in Rome

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Musk talks X advertising, birth rate in Rome

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - X (formerly Twitter) CEO Elon Musk holds his son as he arrives at the Atreju political meeting organised by the young militants of Italian right wing party Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia) on December 16, 2023 at the Sant’Angelo Castle in Rome. — AFP pic

ROME, Dec 16 — Elon Musk claimed today that advertisers were returning to X (formerly Twitter) after an exodus, at a Rome meeting where he also warned Italy’s low birth rate could put off investors.

The billionaire was a star guest at the Atreju political festival organised by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy party.

Asked about advertisers who had abandoned his platform over concerns about extreme posts, Musk said: “I think X will be fine, and we are actually already seeing advertisers return to X.”

He added: “Brand advertisers are always worried about their brand.... But I think it’s a short-term issue.”

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Musk’s comments were more upbeat than previously, when he said the advertising boycott could “kill the company”.

Today, he said some of the organisations which had abandoned X were infected by a “woke mind virus”, using the derogatory term “woke” used to condemn those seen as excessively socially aware.

He said identity politics was “very divisive”, “anti-meritocratic” and “just no fun”, drawing applause from the audience that included Meloni — who herself has railed against “woke ideology”.

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Her party came top in 2022 Italian general elections on the back of a promise to end mass migration and to defend traditional Christian family values.

X (formerly Twitter) CEO Elon Musk makes a heart with his hands during the Atreju political meeting organised by the young militants of Italian right wing party Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d'Italia) on December 16, 2023 at the Sant’Angelo Castle in Rome. — AFP pic

X (formerly Twitter) CEO Elon Musk makes a heart with his hands during the Atreju political meeting organised by the young militants of Italian right wing party Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d'Italia) on December 16, 2023 at the Sant’Angelo Castle in Rome. — AFP pic

Musk said he was “very much in favour of legal migration”, saying countries should welcome anyone honest who was willing to work hard.

But he said that it was not possible to assess who fulfilled these characteristics without controls, concluding: “Let’s increase legal immigration, but we should stop illegal immigration.”

He also warned that migration is not a substitute for domestic population growth, and that without an increase in the birth rate, “people will disappear”.

He highlighted Italy’s low fertility rate — something Meloni often talks about — and warned it poses a risk for companies wanting to invest in the country.

Asked directly if Italy was a good place in which to invest, he said: “I do worry about the low birth rate.

“If a company is to invest in Italy, will there be enough people to work there?”

The interviewer scoffed, saying it was a problem in 50 years, but Musk said it could be “even sooner than that”.

He concluded: “I agree it’s a good place to invest and a wonderful country — please make more Italians, is what I’m saying.” — AFP

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