Linda Yaccarino thanks Elon Musk and calls for Twitter user feedback in first tweets since CEO reveal. Now for the hard part

May 14, 2023, 12:52 PM UTC
Twitter CEO Elon Musk being interviewed last month by Linda Yaccarino, who we now know will succeed him.
Chandan Khanna—AFP/Getty Images

Linda Yaccarino has tweeted for the first few times since Elon Musk named her as Twitter’s next CEO on Friday.

On Saturday, she started off by thanking Musk, adding, “I’ve long been inspired by your vision to create a brighter future. I’m excited to help bring this vision to Twitter and transform this business together!”

Next, she wrote, “I see I have some new followers. I’m not as prolific as @elonmusk (yet!), but I’m just as committed to the future of this platform. Your feedback is VITAL to that future. I’m here for all of it. Let’s keep the conversation going and build Twitter 2.0 together!”

Those two tweets—and especially the first one—quickly racked up the most views, likes, and replies her account has ever seen, a sign of the sharply increased attention Yaccarino will receive as she tries to turn around the company’s fortunes.

One of her most popular tweets before this weekend involved, fittingly, Musk. On April 20, she shared an interview with Musk she’d just conducted at a Possible marketing conference in Florida, writing: “We can all agree … this freedom of speech, deserves a bit more reach. Here’s my full chat with @elonmusk…” 

That interview was conducted in front of marketing professionals, many of whom had become leery of advertising on Twitter since Musk’s $44 billion takeover of the platform last year. Yaccarino challenged Musk in that interview repeatedly, prodding the self-described “free-speech absolutist” to address the concerns of the advertisers watching them about a perceived uptick in racism, conspiracies, and other objectionable content on the platform.

“So let me kind of pull you back into what’s important to the people in this room, and that’s protection for their ad campaigns,” Yaccarino told Musk. She said there needs to be an opportunity for those marketing professionals to “influence what you’re building.” 

Musk replied, “If I were to say, yes, you can influence me, that would be wrong, that would be very wrong, because that would be a diminishment of freedom of speech.”

“I wanna be specific about influence,” replied Yaccarino, who was then still an NBCUniversal ad executive. “It’s more an open feedback loop for the advertising experts in this room to help develop Twitter into a place where they will be excited about investing more money: product development, ad safety, content moderation. That’s what the influence is.” 

“It’s totally cool to say you want your advertising to appear in certain places in Twitter and not in other places,” Musk said. “But it is not cool to try to say what Twitter will do. And if that means losing advertising dollars, we lose it. But freedom of speech is paramount.”

The interview could have become tense given the topic and the back-and-forth, but Yaccarino and Musk seemed to have a rapport. She capably pulled off a balancing act that day between advertisers and the mercurial billionaire. It might have been a warm-up for what’s to come. 


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