When Elon sparred with Christine: 3 takeaways from their on-stage interview

SAN FRANCISCO — On Friday, Elon Musk introduced that NBC Common’s Linda Yaccarino will function the brand new CEO of Twitter. Yaccarino is a longtime promoting government credited with integrating and digitizing advert gross sales at NBCU. Her problem now will probably be to woo again advertisers which have fled Twitter since Musk acquired it final yr for $44 billion.

Since taking possession, Musk has fired 1000’s of Twitter workers, largely scrapped the trust-and-safety staff liable for holding the positioning freed from hate speech, harassment and misinformation, and blamed others — notably mainstream media organizations, which he views as untrustworthy “opponents” to Twitter for advert {dollars} — for exaggerating Twitter’s issues.

In April, the 2 met for an on-stage dialog at a advertising conference in Miami Seaside, Florida. Listed here are some highlights of their dialog:


The Miami dialogue was cordial, though each contributors drew some distinct traces within the sand. On a number of events, Yaccarino steered the dialog towards problems with content material moderation and the obvious proliferation of hate speech and extremism since Musk took over the platform. She couched her questions within the context of whether or not Musk might assist advertisers really feel extra welcome on the platform.

At one level, she requested if Musk was keen to let advertisers “affect” his imaginative and prescient for Twitter, explaining that it might assist them get extra enthusiastic about investing more cash — “product improvement, advert security, content material moderation — that is what the affect is.”

Musk shut her down. “It’s completely cool to say that you simply need to have your promoting seem in sure locations in Twitter and never elsewhere, however it’s not cool to to attempt to say what Twitter will do,” he mentioned. “And if meaning shedding promoting {dollars}, we lose it. However freedom of speech is paramount.”


Yaccarino returned to the problem a number of moments later when she requested Musk if he deliberate to reinstate the corporate’s “affect council,” a once-regular assembly with advertising executives from a number of of Twitter’s main advertisers. Musk once more demurred.

“I’d be fearful about making a backlash among the many public,” he mentioned. “As a result of if the general public thinks that their views are being decided by, you realize, a small variety of (advertising executives) in America, they are going to be, I believe, upset about that.”

Musk went on to acknowledge that suggestions is essential, and prompt Twitter ought to purpose for a “wise center floor” that ensures the general public “has a voice” whereas advertisers give attention to the odd work of enhancing gross sales and the notion of their manufacturers.


Musk did not move up the chance to promote the assembled entrepreneurs a brand new plan to unravel Twitter’s issues with objectionable tweets, which the corporate had introduced the day earlier than. Musk referred to as the coverage “freedom of speech however not freedom of attain,” describing it as a technique to restrict the visibility of hate speech and related issues with out truly eradicating rule-breaking tweets.

Yaccarino took a swing. “Does it apply to your tweets?” Musk has a historical past of posting misinformation and infrequently offensive tweets, usually within the early morning hours.

Musk acknowledged that it does, including that his tweets may also be tagged with “group notes” that present extra context to tweets. He added that his tweets obtain no particular boosts from Twitter.

“Will you conform to be extra particular and never tweet after 3 a.m.?” Yaccarino requested.

“I’ll aspire to tweet much less after 3 a.m.,” Musk replied.

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