Elon Musk’s replacement reveals ‘why’ she joined Twitter

Innovation

Elon Musk’s replacement Linda Yaccarino took to Twitter on Monday morning—one week after starting the job as CEO—to explain “why” she joined the company, though the advertising-executive-turned-CEO used mostly repeated buzzwords and phrases Musk clung to during his time at the platform’s helm.
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Key Takeaways
  • Yaccarino’s Twitter thread began by saying Musk’s work in other fields inspired her to work for him: “Elon knew space exploration and electric vehicles needed transformation, so he did it,” she said, adding it’s “becoming clear that the global town square” is in need of similar transformation.
  • She said Twitter is on a mission to “become the world’s most accurate real-time information source and a global town square for communication,” adding people should have “freedom to speak your mind”—echoing Musk’s obsession with allowing so-called freedom of speech.
  • Yaccarino said Twitter has “the opportunity to reach across aisles,” even though Musk has been accused of promoting right-wing extremists since taking over the platform, encouraged voters to back Republican candidates in the 2022 midterm elections and suspended accounts of journalists who criticized his approach to running Twitter.
  • Yaccarino made no mention of those criticisms in her remarks Monday. The thread—or at least parts of it—were also sent internally to Twitter employees as Yaccarino’s first company-wide email message, according to a New York Times technology reporter.
  • Yaccarino—who has an extensive background in advertising, an area in which Twitter has greatly struggled since Musk bought it—was named the new CEO in May and started on the job last week, earlier than expected.
Key Background

Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion in October 2022 and immediately began firing senior leadership and cutting headcount. In an effort to supposedly broaden free speech on the platform, which Musk has long stated is a priority of his, he overhauled content moderation and unblocked people who had previously been removed from Twitter—perhaps most notably former President Donald Trump, whose account was banned after the January 6 riots due to “the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Musk’s changes upset companies, advertisers and high profile users and, by the end of January, more than half of Twitter’s top advertisers stopped spending on the platform, CNN reported. Following the announcement that Yaccarino—who was previously head of advertising at NBCUniversal—would be his replacement, speculation began that her hire was in part to soothe nervous advertisers who left the platform.

Related

Tangent

The first big move under Yaccarino was announced over the weekend: Twitter will start paying creators for advertisements shown in their replies. There are stipulations, though, primarily that only verified creators are eligible and only ads served to verified users count toward revenue, Musk tweeted. The first tranche of funding will be $5 million, but it’s unclear so far what sort of posts or which users will be eligible for the advertising payment. The increased revenue that could come in from this new model will likely help Twitter shift to its new identity as X—“an everything app” with a number of functions Musk said he hopes will make it “the biggest financial institution in the world.”

What To Watch For

Meta has been testing its challenger to Twitter—internally dubbed “Project 92” and previously “Barcelona”—for months with celebrities and influencers, and gave employees a sneak preview last week. Meta chief product officer Chris Cox reportedly told employees the goal of the new product is to have a platform prioritizing “safety, ease of use, reliability” and to ensure that creators have a “stable place to build and grow their audiences,” taking a dig at the operation of Twitter under Musk. It’s been rumoured that the new app may launch as soon as this summer.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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