- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Linda Yaccarino, CEO of the social media company formerly known as Twitter, claimed on Thursday that X is a “much healthier and safer platform than it was” when Elon Musk bought it, adding that “99.9 percent” of the content on the site is “healthy.”
Yaccarino, whom Musk brought in from NBCUniversal to boost the company’s sagging advertising revenue, also insisted that since she came aboard X’s “operational rate run” has come “pretty close to breakeven” and advertisers are starting to come back.
Sitting down with CNBC anchor Sara Eisen, Yaccarino first attempted to take some credit for the massive box-office success of summer films Barbie and Oppenheimer, stating that the “Barbenheimer” social media trend began on her platform. “It’s where the conversation started,” she boasted.
“There’s also a lot of hate and a lot of vitriol and conspiracy theories and those attract a lot of eyeballs too,” Eisen countered. “And so, if you’re a brand and a business, why would you feel safe advertising?”
Conceding that it was an “appropriate question,” Yaccarino then claimed some of these “headline comments and phrases need to be continually brought to light and debunked.” Referencing her time as a top ad executive for NBCUniversal, she noted that Twitter was “our number one social partner” and was always considered safe.
“A lot of brands have left,” Eisen shot back.
“I hear you,” Yaccarino replied. “I want to take that last 10 years and put it in perspective, because by all objective metrics, X is a much healthier and safer platform than it was a year ago.”
Following his acquisition of Twitter, Musk reinstated hundreds of previously banned accounts, stripped away verification badges while simultaneously handing them out to anyone willing to pay, suspended journalists from the platform, and personally amplified misinformation and falsehoods.
Additionally, several independent studies have found that hate speech has significantly increased on the site since Musk purchased it last fall. The edgelord billionaire, who has repeatedly threatened legal action against ex-employees and tech competitors, recently sued a nonprofit watchdog for claiming Twitter “fails to act on 99 percent” of hateful messages from Twitter Blue subscription accounts.
Yaccarino asserted to CNBC that the site has “built brand safety and content moderation tools that have never existed before at this company,” stating that X now has a policy called “freedom of speech, not reach” to deal with hateful content.
“So if you’re going to post something that's illegal or against the law, you’re gone. Zero tolerance,” she declared. “But more importantly, if you're going to post something that is lawful, but it’s awful, you get labeled. You get labeled, you get deamplified, which means it cannot be shared. And it is certainly demonetized.”
Making the case that brands shouldn’t be concerned with their ads “being next to that content,” Yaccarino then made another stunning claim.
“Reducing that hateful content from being seen, is one of the best examples how X is committed to encouraging healthy behavior online. And today, I can confidently sit in front of you and say that 99.9 percent of all posted impressions are healthy,” she proclaimed.
“How do you define healthy though? Is porn healthy? Are conspiracy theories healthy?” Eisen, without missing a beat, retorted.
“You know, it goes back to my point about our success with freedom of speech, not reach,” Yaccarino responded. “And if it’s lawful, but it’s awful, it's extraordinarily difficult for you to see it.”
Eisen, meanwhile, noted that the platform recently reinstated antisemitic rapper Kanye West's account. The controversial superstar, who is purportedly running for president, was banned by Musk last year after declaring his love for Adolf Hitler and posting Nazi imagery. “Lawful but awful, and he’s allowed back on,” the CNBC anchor observed.
Yaccarino, for her part, said that West would “operate within the very specific policies that we have established” but that “we also have to remember what's at the core of free expression.” At the same time, she said this is “why we’re doubling down on brand safety.”
Elsewhere in the wide-ranging conversation, the X CEO was asked if Musk’s notorious tweeting habits made her job “impossible,” prompting her to say that “it’s really important that everyone should be allowed to have their own opinion.”
Yaccarino also alleged that amid the platform’s rebrand, she convinced blue-chip advertisers to come back, the company was getting closer to profitability, and X is hiring again after firing most of its workforce.
“Coca-Cola, Visa, State Farm is a huge partner,” she said. “They’re coming back the last bunch of weeks—continued revenue growth and I think it's a combination of things.”
Asked when the company could “get to cashflow positive,” Yaccarino claimed “the operational run rate” is “pretty close to breakeven” and the company is “pacing well” due to its “cost discipline.”
Earlier this year, however, Twitter’s American advertising revenue was down 59 percent and had regularly fallen well short of weekly sales projections, The New York Times reported. Last month, in fact, Musk admitted that the company carried a “heavy debt load, its cash flow was negative, and ad revenue had plunged. This was after insisting in April that Twitter was “roughly breaking even” and “almost all advertisers have come back.”
Meanwhile, since rebranding Twitter to X, analysts and brand agencies have speculated that Musk has wiped out anywhere between $4 and $20 billion in brand value from the company he purchased for $44 billion. And this is after the Tesla founder himself admitted that the company was now worth roughly half of what he paid for it.