X Corp. CEO Linda Yaccarino says she has ‘autonomy’ under Elon Musk


X Corp. CEO Linda Yaccarino says she has 'autonomy' under Elon Musk

X Corp. CEO Linda Yaccarino told CNBC that she has “autonomy” under owner Elon Musk in an interview Thursday, adding that advertisers should be comfortable returning to the platform under her leadership.

Yaccarino pointed to the post on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, announcing her hiring, where Musk underscored his continued control over product and development. Yaccarino told CNBC’s Sara Eisen that her role was “everything else” involved in “running the company.”

Questions have swirled about Yaccarino’s autonomy under Musk, given his extensive control over the company and his other ventures, including Tesla and SpaceX.

Yaccarino, the former global advertising chief at CNBC parent company NBCUniversal, also emphasized X Corp.’s effort to improve the advertiser experience, after brands fled from the platform following Musk’s acquisition of Twitter.

Hate speech and potentially illegal content proliferated in the days and weeks after Musk took control of the platform, CNBC and NBC News have previously reported. Brands were unwilling to risk having their advertising appear next to that kind of content, leading to a mass exodus of advertiser dollars.

Yaccarino emphasized X’s trust and safety team and argued that X is “healthier” than it was when it was publicly traded. “You might not agree” with all posts, Yaccarino added.

Twitter effectively disbanded its ethical AI team in November and laid off all but one of its members, along with 15% of its trust and safety department. The decision stopped the ethical AI team’s work on “algorithmic amplification monitoring,” or tracking elections and political parties to see if “content was being amplified in a way that it shouldn’t,” Rumman Chowdhury, the team’s former lead, told CNBC in May.

Yaccarino faces an uphill battle in rebuilding advertiser trust. Musk has claimed that user engagement continually reaches fresh heights, but the company has yet to provide concrete data on that engagement. Coca-Cola, Visa, and other brands had returned to advertising under her leadership, Yaccarino said, as a result of her direct engagement with marketing and communications executives.

Brands are now “protected from the risk of being next to” potentially toxic content, Yaccarino said. She added that if content is “lawful but awful” it is difficult to remove the content from the platform, but that the company’s new content controls would tamp down on advertiser risk.

Yaccarino told Eisen that headcount had stabilized at 1,500 employees, down from 8,000 employees pre-acquisition. The layoffs, which occurred before her tenure, were a “very necessary cost discipline exercise,” she added.

X Corp. now a much healthier and safer platform than a year ago, says Linda Yaccarino

Yaccarino on Meta’s Threads and a potential Musk v. Zuckerberg cage match


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