Linda Yaccarino, CEO of billionaire Elon Musk’s social media platform X, said Monday the platform has seen “detractors and fabricated distractions,” as she faces calls to resign after a group of major companies pulled ads over concerns about antisemitism on the platform, including from her boss.
- In a post on X Monday morning, Yaccarino said she believes “deeply in our vision, our team and our community,” writing, “when you’re this consequential, there will be detractors and fabricated distractions, but we’re unwavering in our mission.”.
- Yaccarino’s comments come as a group of advertisers leave the platform, after left-wing watchdog Media Matters released a report finding ads from Apple, Bravo, IBM and Oracle appeared near content supportive of the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler.
- Apple, Disney and film company Lionsgate also suspended ads on X after Musk re-posted a claim from an X user that Jewish communities that reject antisemitism display “hatred against whites—that claim has also been condemned by the White House as an “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate.”
- Yaccarino, who joined X earlier this year after an 11-year stint at NBCUniversal, has faced strong headwinds since joining X and has recently been reached by multiple advertising executives who asked why she is still at X despite Musk’s pattern of controversial posts, reportedly telling her that by resigning she could speak out against racism and antisemitism, Forbes reported.
- Yaccarino has rebuffed those suggestions, sources told Forbes, even as Musk comes under fire for endorsing a post deemed antisemitic, which theorized that “Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them”—Musk called the argument “the actual truth.”
Musk’s handling of X has been widely criticized well before Yaccarino joined on as X CEO – since Musk closed on his momentous $44 billion purchase of the company, then known as Twitter, last October.
Chief among those complaints were claims that his reduction of the platform’s workforce, including its teams dedicated to content moderation, and his lifting of the platform’s moderation guidelines, would boost hate speech as Musk attempted to transform the platform into a bastion of free speech (Musk acknowledged last October the platform could not become a “free-for-all hellscape”).
In addition to Media Matters’ report last week, the Center for Countering Digital Hate also found in September the platform failed to remove the majority of posts flagged as “extreme hate speech, though Yaccarino has repeatedly claimed the platform has combated hate speech, telling CNBC in August the site is “healthier and safer” than it was before Musk took over.
Musk on Saturday threatened to file a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against Media Matters “and ALL those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company,” claiming the watchdog used an alternate account to create posts and ads to “manipulate the public and advertisers” (Media Matters did not respond to Forbes’ request for comment).
Musk also took a jab at monumental artificial intelligence startup OpenAI Monday following the ouster of its co-founder Sam Altman and as more than 500 of its employees threaten to jump ship to Microsoft. Musk wrote “looks like instability.ai is still available.”
This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.