Elon Musk Names Linda Yaccarino as New CEO of Twitter, Sparking User Concerns

Elon Musk has announced Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter, just over six months after his controversial takeover of the social media company.[0] Yaccarino previously served as the chairman of global advertising and partnerships for NBCUniversal, where she developed the company’s ad-supported streaming platforms and generated more than $100 billion in advertising sales. Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion in October 2022, part-financed by selling off some of his Tesla stock.[1] Since then, he has made moves to turn Twitter into a super app, including the launch of the premium subscription service Twitter Blue, which offers longer tweets and other features.[2]

Despite Yaccarino’s departure from NBCUniversal being a surprise, she had been close with the company and Musk.[3] She interviewed Musk at an ad industry conference in April, and NBCUniversal recently expanded an agreement with Twitter that will make content tied to the 2024 Paris Olympics available on the social site.[4] Yaccarino will focus primarily on business operations, while Musk transitions to chairman and chief technology officer overseeing product design and new technology.[5]

There have been concerns from Twitter users about Yaccarino’s potential influence on the platform, with fears that she will “return Twitter to its old ways or tamp down on Musk’s free-speech initiatives.” However, Yaccarino’s past public comments showed seeming approval of Musk’s leadership style.[6] According to her Twitter bio, she is motivated by advancements in the industry and finds leadership that challenges norms to be inspiring.[7]

It remains to be seen whether Yaccarino will bring Twitter once again under a regime of speech restraint like the one that preceded Musk’s acquisition of the site. If she does, perhaps the blame will lie less with the WEF or other such metonyms than with the distinctive ways our now firmly digital-first political landscape departs from the norms of the liberal one it displaced.[8]

Musk has attempted to address Twitter users’ concerns over Yaccarino’s potential influence on the platform, saying that she will focus primarily on business operations while he focuses on product design and new technology. Musk has also made moves to change Twitter’s system for verifying user accounts, including charging $8 per month for it, resulting in the loss of many users’ blue checkmarks.[9]

Overall, Yaccarino’s hiring may help circumvent Twitter’s money woes.[10] According to The Wall Street Journal, Yaccarino had spent more than ten years with NBCUniversal and was known for being a strong supporter of improving advertising effectiveness measurement in the industry. The article also highlighted her instrumental role in the creation of NBCUniversal’s ad-supported streaming platform, Peacock. Musk will likely continue to focus on turning Twitter into a super app, while Yaccarino will handle business operations.

0. “Elon Musk names Linda Yaccarino new Twitter CEO” BBC, 12 May. 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-65574826

1. “Tesla Stock Falls After Elon Musk Names New Twitter CEO” Investor’s Business Daily, 12 May. 2023, https://www.investors.com/news/tesla-stock-rises-after-elon-musk-finds-twitter-ceo/

2. “Linda Yaccarino says she’s inspired by “provocative leadership”” Quartz, 12 May. 2023, https://qz.com/linda-yaccarino-says-shes-inspired-by-provocative-lead-1850432082

3. “NBCU Is in an Ads Crisis Over Linda Yaccarino’s New Twitter CEO Gig” Business Insider, 12 May. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/nbcuniversal-elon-musk-ad-boss-linda-yaccarino-twitter-ceo-2023-5

4. “Who is Linda Yaccarino, Elon Musk’s pick for Twitter CEO?” The Washington Post, 12 May. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2023/05/12/new-twitter-ceo-linda-yaccarino-elon-musk/

5. “Elon Musk names ex-NBCUniversal ad chief Linda Yaccarino new Twitter CEO” NBC News, 12 May. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/nbcuniversal-ad-chief-leaves-twitter-rcna84128

6. “Twitter close to naming NBCU’s Linda Yaccarino to CEO role” AdAge.com, 11 May. 2023, https://adage.com/article/media/twitter-close-naming-nbcus-linda-yaccarino-ceo/2494306

7. “Right-wing Twitter worried Musk’s CEO pick could return Twitter to its roots” Ars Technica, 12 May. 2023, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2023/05/twitter-users-fear-new-ceo-will-end-musks-commitment-to-free-speech-on-platform

8. “Will Linda Yaccarino turn Twitter into a dating site?” UnHerd, 12 May. 2023, https://unherd.com/thepost/will-linda-yaccarino-let-twitter-become-a-dating-site/

9. “Elon Musk’s Twitter: Everything you need to know, from layoffs to verification” TechCrunch, 12 May. 2023, https://techcrunch.com/2023/05/11/elon-musks-twitter-everything-you-need-to-know-from-layoffs-to-verification/

10. “Elon Musk Officially Announces New Twitter CEO” IGN, 12 May. 2023, https://www.ign.com/articles/elon-musk-officially-announces-new-twitter-ceo