Yesterday, there was a notable hush across most of ESPN’s social media accounts. This quiet spell came hot on the heels of Disney’s Friday announcement, where they declared a halt to advertising on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
They don’t post anything
This move from Disney was a response to some controversial posts by X’s owner, Elon Musk, which seemed to align with antisemitic and white power narratives. The folks at AwfulAnnouncing were the first to pick up on ESPN’s digital silence, pointing out the radio silence of their main account, a heavyweight with nearly 50 million followers.
It’s not just the main ESPN account that’s gone quiet. Big players like NBA on ESPN, First Take, NFL on ESPN, and ESPN Plus have also hit pause on their social media game, not posting, replying, or liking anything since at least Friday. That said, some accounts showed signs of life. ESPN FC, ESPN College Football, and SportsCenter each made a single post or repost yesterday. Others, like ESPN Desportes and the ESPN PR account, kept up their usual activity.
Disney’s X accounts are also laying low, joining the quiet brigade along with other Disney-owned heavy hitters like Marvel Entertainment.
Disney’s decision to pull the plug on advertising on X, once known as Twitter, aligns it with other big names like Apple, Warner Bros. Discovery, IBM, and Comcast / NBCUniversal. This collective step back was triggered by a report from the nonprofit Media Matters, which highlighted troubling content on the platform, including Musk’s own posts and ads appearing alongside posts glorifying the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler.
X holds a significant spot in the online sports conversation world, so ESPN’s social media blackout could be a symbolic blow to the platform. Although ESPN’s retreat into the shadows isn’t likely to put a damper on sports chatter about the NFL, college basketball, or Formula 1, it’s worth noting that ESPN’s huge following won’t be driving traffic with its posts on X for now.
Over at Meta’s Threads, ESPN’s silence hasn’t exactly sparked a flurry of activity. The network’s primary account there hasn’t been updated in weeks, and keeping track of specific conversations on this X alternative hasn’t been the smoothest.
However, there’s a glimmer of change on the horizon: Threads is experimenting with hashtags and post counts in Australia, which could add a real-time vibe to the platform if rolled out in the US. Meanwhile, as AwfulAnnouncing observed, ESPN is keeping the conversation going on Meta’s other platforms, Instagram and Facebook.