Following Disney’s announcement on Friday that it was done with advertisements on X, formerly Twitter, the majority of ESPN accounts were dormant as of yesterday. Elon Musk, the site owner, made comments endorsing antisemitic and white power accounts, which prompted Disney to take action. Yesterday, AwfulAnnouncing noticed the lapse in activity, pointing out that the primary ESPN account had nearly 50 million followers.As of this writing, the main ESPN account, the NBA on ESPN, First Take, the NFL on ESPN, ESPN Plus, and a few more accounts have not posted, reacted, or liked anything since at least Friday. While some accounts, like ESPN Desportes and ESPN PR, were active all day, others, like ESPN FC, ESPN College Football, and SportsCenter, only posted or republished once yesterday.
Disney owns a number of accounts, including Marvel Entertainment, and its X accounts were also silent.
Disney joined the ranks of other well-known sponsors, including Comcast / NBCUniversal, Apple, IBM, and Warner Bros. Discovery. The withdrawal happened in response to a study by the charity Media Matters that highlighted posts made by Musk as well as advertisements that appeared next to content honoring Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.
Since X is one of the most well-liked forums for sports talk online, ESPN’s accounts going black could spell trouble for the platform—at least metaphorically. ESPN has a sizable following on the site, and it won’t be driving traffic with its own postings, so discussion about sports like NFL football, college basketball, and Formula 1 won’t likely be silenced by the company going quiet on its accounts.
Meta’s Threads don’t seem to have benefited from ESPN’s quiet on X; its main account there hasn’t posted in weeks. Simply put, there hasn’t been a very good method to follow some discussions on Meta’s X substitute. However, Threads began experimenting with hashtags that included post counts in Australia; if that feature is added to the US, it might give the platform a slightly more real-time feel than it has up to this far. In the meantime, the network has been active on Facebook and Instagram, two of Meta’s other platforms, as AwfulAnnouncing mentioned in its post.