Last week, Elon Musk, owner of X (formerly Twitter), called an antisemitic post “the actual truth,” setting off another round of negative coverage surrounding the once-heralded billionaire. After Media Matters for America published a story on Thursday titled “As Musk endorses antisemitic conspiracy theory, X has been placing ads for Apple, Bravo, IBM, Oracle, and Xfinity next to pro-Nazi content, many of the biggest corporations in America paused their ad spending on X.
By Friday, the list of major players who were no longer advertising on the social media platform included IBM, Amazon, NBCUniversal, Apple, and ESPN’s parent company Disney.
Along with the advertising pause, it appears that Disney and its affiliates have paused posting altogether, at least for Saturday.
As of 9:00 p.m. ET, none of the major X accounts affiliated with ESPN or Disney properties have posted. That includes the main ESPN account, ESPN CFB, and College GameDay. The idea that those three accounts would go silent during a college football Saturday was unthinkable as recently as days ago. Those accounts reach 48.8m followers, 3m followers, and 2.9m followers, respectively. College GameDay’s account, in particular, not posting Lee Corso’s headgear pick or Pat McAfee’s antics seems like something that would never happen.
While one might be able to write off one or two accounts going dark as a miscommunication or human error, it becomes clear that there appears to be a Disney mandate in place once you consider that all of those accounts are posting as normal on other social media platforms. The main ESPN account on Instagram posted 19 times so far and the ESPN account on Facebook has nine posts on Saturday as of the time of this writing.
Other Disney-related X accounts that did not post once on Saturday include Disney+, Marvel, National Geographic, Star Wars, and Pixar. Other ESPN accounts such as NBA on ESPN, NFL on ESPN, and SEC Network are all dark as well.
Oddly, the one notable ESPN account that posted all day on Saturday was the ESPN PR account, which posted seven times so far.
The mandate does not appear to have impacted individual accounts, especially those of insiders and newsbreakers. Adam Schefter, Marc Spears, Greg Wyshynski, Pete Thamel, Molly McGrath, and Adrian Wojnarowski have all posted in some form on the platform on Saturday.
Awful Announcing has reached out to ESPN and Disney for comment and to find out if this X posting blackout is Saturday-only or will continue.
UPDATE: At 10:14 p.m. EST, the ESPN College Football account on X shared an article about the injury suffered by Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis.
Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis was carted off the field after his leg bent at an awkward angle on a run in the first quarter of Saturday's game against North Alabama. https://t.co/A5SMILxrk6
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 19, 2023