3 takeaways from their onstage interview

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — On Friday, Elon Musk announced that NBC Universal’s Linda Yaccarino will become Twitter’s new CEO. Yaccarino is a longtime advertising executive credited with integrating and digitizing advertising sales at NBCU. Her challenge now will be to win back advertisers who have fled Twitter since Musk acquired it for $44 billion last year.

Since taking ownership, Musk has laid off thousands of Twitter employees, largely scrapped the trust-and-safety team responsible for keeping the site free of hate speech, harassment and misinformation, and blamed others — notably mainstream media organizations, which he considers unreliable “competitors” to Twitter for ad dollars — for exaggerating Twitter’s problems.

In April, the two met for an on-stage conversation at a marketing convention in Miami Beach, Florida. Here are some highlights of their conversation:


The discussion in Miami was cordial, although both participants drew some clear lines in the sand. On a few occasions, Yaccarino steered the conversation towards issues such as content moderation and the apparent proliferation of hate speech and extremism since Musk took over the platform. She framed her questions in the context of whether Musk could help advertisers feel more welcome on the platform.

At one point, she asked if Musk was willing to let advertisers “influence” his vision for Twitter, explaining that it would help them get more excited about investing more money — “product development, ad safety, content moderation — that’s what the influence is.”

Musk shut her down. “It’s totally cool to say you want your ads to appear in certain places on Twitter and not others, but it’s not cool to try to say what Twitter is going to do,” he said. advertising dollars, we lose it. But freedom of expression is paramount.”


Yaccarino returned to the issue a little later when she asked Musk if he planned to reinstate the company’s “board of influence,” a once-regular gathering of marketing executives from several of Twitter’s largest advertisers. Musk protested again.

“I would be concerned about creating a backlash among the public,” he said. “Because if the public thinks their opinion is dictated by, you know, a small number of[marketing executives]in America, I think they’re going to be upset about that.”

Musk further acknowledged that feedback is important and suggested that Twitter should aim for a “sensible middle ground” that ensures that the public “have a voice” while advertisers focus on the regular work of improving sales and the perception of their customers. to notice.


Musk didn’t pass up the opportunity to sell the assembled marketers a new plan to fix Twitter’s problems with offensive tweets, which the company had announced the day before. Musk called the policy “freedom of speech but not freedom of speech,” describing it as a way to limit the visibility of hate speech and similar issues without actually deleting rule-breaking tweets.

Yaccarino took a swing. “Does it apply to your tweets?” Musk has a history of posting misinformation and occasionally offensive tweets.

Musk acknowledged that this is the case, adding that his tweets can also be tagged with “community notes” which give additional context to tweets. He added that his tweets don’t get any special boost from Twitter.

“Would you agree to be more specific and stop tweeting after 3am?” Yaccarino asked.

“I will strive to tweet less after 3 a.m.,” Musk replied.

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