Are the cool kids leaving Twitter? Balenciaga becomes the first major brand to delete its account

November 15, 2022, 1:07 PM UTC
Balenciaga Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian and North West are seen at a Balenciga store on July 05, 2022 in Paris, France
Pierre Suu—GC Images/Getty Images

Balenciaga seems to be cutting problematic people out of its life. One month after the luxury fashion house became the first company to drop its association with Ye, Balenciaga has now quit Elon Musk.

The Paris-based brand owned by fashion conglomerate Kering has deleted its profile from Twitter after Elon Musk’s arrival stoked fears over the direction of the social media platform.

Balenciaga has not elaborated on why it chose to delete its account and leave behind the 1 million followers it had on the platform, but the move comes at a time when changes to Twitter’s verification policy have led to the proliferation of impostor accounts, endangering the reputation of public companies and notable people.

Elon Musk recently upended Twitter’s policies on verified accounts, and now anyone on the platform can become verified with a “Twitter Blue” icon for $8 a month. This has led to a surge of fake accounts pretending to be celebrities, politicians, and companies.

The most notable corporate victim of this policy change was Eli Lilly. A Twitter user made a new account pretending to be the pharmaceutical giant and paid for verification before sending out a prank tweet that read, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.” The tweet sent Eli Lilly’s stock price plunging sharply. Arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin experienced a similar fate when a user with a verified account, pretending to be the company, tweeted that Lockheed would be stopping weapons sales in certain countries.

Balenciaga confirmed to Vogue that it had deleted its Twitter, making it the first brand of its size and prestige to depart from the platform. It comes a month after the fashion brand became the first company to sever ties with Ye, formally known as Kanye West, after his anti-Semitic tirade on Instagram and Twitter.

Kering did not respond to Fortune‘s request for comment by the time of publication.

Balenciaga takes it one step further

While Balenciaga is the first major brand to delete its account completely, many others have paused advertising on the site to “wait and see” whether inappropriate and hateful content on the social media giant runs rampant under Musk’s ownership.

General Motors—Musk’s Tesla rival—was the first brand to publicly announce that it was pausing advertising on Twitter. At the same time, United Airlines and Pfizer also quietly paused their advertising spend. Soon after, it was reported that advertising giant Interpublic Group recommended its clients temporarily pause their ad spending on Twitter. IPG is one of the Big Four agency companies, alongside WPP, Publicis, and Omnicom, and manages the public relations of Coca-ColaAmerican Express, Johnson & Johnson, Nintendo, and others.

Elon Musk is stuck in a catch-22. Advertising once made up 90% of Twitter’s revenue. In order to diversify Twitter’s revenue stream, Musk has suggested paywalls and paid verification options to bring in more cash. However, there is a major risk to paid verification as it erodes the value of legitimate high-profile accounts. The more Musk tries to diversify his revenue sources, the iffier the content on the platform could become, which would likely lead to more advertisers fleeing the platform.

In an effort to calm advertisers’ fears, Musk held a Twitter Space last week to address concerns about the rising growth of hate speech and misinformation, and shared his plans to tackle these problems.

The Twitter Space may not have been enough to assuage the fears of Balenciaga, which, under the leadership of creative director Demna Gvasalia, was ranked the hottest brand of 2021.

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