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Elon Musk Names Advertising Executive as New CEO of Twitter

Written by Matthew KupferPublished May 12, 2023 • 9:55am
Linda Yaccarino (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images)

Elon Musk has named the woman who will succeed him as CEO of social media giant Twitter: Linda Yaccarino, an advertising executive at mass media conglomerate NBCUniversal.

In a tweet, Musk said that Yaccarino would focus on business operations and help transform the platform into X, "the everything app."

The announcement comes just a day after Musk tweeted that he had hired a new chief executive and that he would take on a new role overseeing products, software and system operations.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Yaccarino was in talks to take the job.

Musk's acquisition of Twitter in October of last year ushered in a period of instability at the social media site, which plays an outsized role in U.S. and international politics.

Musk initiated extensive staff cuts at Twitter's San Francisco headquarters, reinstated numerous accounts that had been banned for violating the site's terms of service, and courted controversy by labeling a number of major news outlets state-funded media.

The announcement of Yaccarino’s appointment sparked speculation online about her politics and what approach she might take to content moderation.

Known for his contrarian political views, Musk generated controversy for reinstating users like former President Donald Trump and others who had previously been banned for tweets violating the company’s terms of service. 

Yaccarino’s political leanings are less clear: While working at NBC, she served a two-year term on Trump’s Council on Sport, Fitness and Nutrition. In 2021, she also worked with the Biden Administration to create a public service announcement that featured Pope Francis and other Catholic leaders promoting vaccination against Covid-19.

There are signs Yaccarino may aim to restore stability to a social media platform where Musk’s unpredictable and, at times, trollish antics have shaken advertiser confidence.

In April, while interviewing Musk at an advertising industry conference in Miami, Yaccarino asked him to tone down his behavior.

“Will you commit to [being] a little more specific and not tweet after 3 a.m.?” she asked. “People in this room would like to see that. You’ll make them feel more confident.”

“I will aspire to tweet less after 3 a.m.,” Musk said. “If I were to say, yes, you can influence me, that would be wrong […]That would be a diminishment of freedom of speech.”

If advertisers had an “open feedback loop” with Musk, that would help “develop Twitter into a place where they will be excited about investing more money,” Yaccarino added.

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