PragerU Runs ‘Timeline Takeover’ Ad Promoting Anti-Trans Film On X


Conservative media nonprofit PragerU has launched a “timeline takeover” ad campaign on X (Twitter) to promote its new film centered around the stories of detransitioners. The film, which has garnered criticism for its portrayal of detransitioning individuals, is being advertised under the hashtag “#DETRANS.”

Key Takeaway

Conservative media nonprofit PragerU is using a “timeline takeover” ad campaign on X (Twitter) to promote its controversial documentary on detransitioners. Despite extensive research indicating the rarity of detransitioning cases, right-wing figures continue to spread alarm around gender-affirming care. Musk’s influence on X has raised concerns about platform impartiality, as he has made derogatory remarks towards the LGBTQ+ community and implemented policy changes reflecting his personal beliefs.

PragerU’s Ad Campaign on X

PragerU, despite not being a university, describes itself as a cultural and media organization dedicated to preserving American ideals. The organization has faced controversy in the past for questioning climate change and downplaying the historical significance of slavery.

The decision to choose X for this particular ad campaign was influenced by the platform’s reputation as one of the least censored social media platforms. According to PragerU, detransitioners have been able to freely share their stories on X since Elon Musk’s purchase and subsequent removal of previous Twitter restrictions.

The film highlights the experiences of individuals who sought gender-affirming care but later expressed regret. Although PragerU claims this documentary is its most significant video to date, extensive research indicates that detransitioning is an extremely rare occurrence. Less than 1% of almost 8,000 transgender patients in a recent review of 27 studies expressed any form of regret after undergoing gender-affirmation surgeries.

Controversy Surrounding Gender-Affirming Care

Despite scientific evidence supporting the life-saving benefits of gender-affirming care and the rarity of detransitioning cases, right-wing figures persist in spreading panic about the treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals. This year alone, over 400 anti-trans bills have been introduced by state legislators.

X’s Challenging Advertising Landscape

The PragerU ad campaign on X comes at a challenging time for the platform’s ad business. X CEO Linda Yaccarino predicts profitability by 2024, but evidence suggests that the platform is currently struggling. Insider Intelligence estimates a 54% decrease in ad revenue from 2022, projecting that X will earn $1.89 billion from ads this year. Similarweb reports also reflect a decline in X’s traffic and monthly active users.

PragerU revealed that it allocated $1 million to promote the “DETRANS” documentary, with a portion being used for the highly visible “timeline takeover” on X. However, considering X’s estimated annual advertising earnings, this ad placement accounts for only a maximum of 0.053% of their total revenue.

Reactions and Platform Guidelines

While there has been pushback from some X users, the company maintains that the PragerU ad campaign does not violate platform guidelines. Notably, this particular ad cannot be dismissed or reported by users, even if they have blocked PragerU’s account.

PragerU is also advertising the documentary on Meta and Google, albeit in less prominent placements. The organization confirmed that it attempted to secure a similar “takeover” ad placement on YouTube, but the request was denied, citing YouTube’s policy on political topic ads.

Elon Musk’s Influence on X

X’s evolution since Elon Musk’s purchase has raised concerns about the platform serving Musk’s personal interests. Numerous instances, including banning journalists who reported on Musk, blocking links to competitor platforms, and altering platform policies to censor a bot that shared public information about his private jet, have raised questions about Twitter’s impartiality under his leadership.

Musk has also exhibited a negative attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community. Over the past year, he has repeatedly made derogatory remarks about transgender individuals, and his removal of Twitter policies prohibiting targeted deadnaming and misgendering has attracted controversy. Recently, Musk expressed his personal belief that the term “cis” is a “heterosexual slur,” reflecting changes made to X’s content moderation policies.

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