Musk Draws Backlash For Picking World Economic Forum Leader, Supporter Of ‘Content Moderation’ To Run Twitter
Linda Yaccarino
Santiago Felipe via Getty Images

Elon Musk selected advertising executive Linda Yaccarino to replace him as chief executive officer of Twitter, drawing concern as users on the platform notice her connections to the World Economic Forum and her endorsements of content moderation.

Yaccarino, who departed from NBCUniversal this week after serving as the company’s chair of global advertising and partnerships for more than a decade, was confirmed as the new chief executive of Twitter on Friday. Musk remarked that she would “focus primarily on business operations” while he directs his attention toward product design and technology.

Twitter users started to uncover the connections that Yaccarino holds to entities such as the World Economic Forum, for which she chairs the Taskforce on Future of Work and sits on the Media, Entertainment and Culture Industry Governors Steering Committee. The World Economic Forum is a leading proponent of stakeholder capitalism, an approach to investing that encourages executives to consider the needs of employees, communities, and other parties in addition to shareholders, and the use of corporate power to advance political agendas.

Musk himself criticized the World Economic Forum earlier this year for “trying to be the boss” of the entire planet as business leaders and government officials gathered at the organization’s annual summit in Switzerland.

Yaccarino also served as board chair for the Ad Council, an entity which creates public service announcements for nonprofits and governments. She partnered with the Biden administration to launch a campaign featuring Pope Francis in order to promote COVID vaccines.

Musk insisted on Friday that Yaccarino would not institute the shadow bans which frequently targeted conservatives under the previous management of Twitter. The phrase “RIP Twitter” nevertheless trended on the platform after he officially announced her appointment to work as chief executive.

Users also unearthed an interview Yaccarino conducted with Musk last month in which she pressed him to amend his own spontaneous use of the platform and contended that advertisers “need to feel that there is an opportunity for them to influence” the site with respect to “content moderation.”

Yaccarino and Musk clashed as she asked Musk to reinstitute the “well populated, much loved influence council” that existed before he purchased the company last year. Musk countered that he would be “worried about creating a backlash among the public” should they believe that “their views are being determined” by a handful of elite marketing executives.


“It’s totally cool to say that you want to have your advertising appear in certain places on Twitter and not in other places, but it is not cool to try to say what Twitter will do,” he remarked. “And if that means losing advertising dollars, we lose it, but freedom of speech is paramount.”

Musk, who also serves as chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, said he acquired Twitter at the end of last year in order to reserve a corner of the public square for open dialogue. The billionaire entrepreneur introduced a new revenue structure based on subscriptions rather than advertisements after he noted that a number of companies have ended their relationships with the platform at the behest of leftist organizations, dealing a significant blow to the business.

“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” Musk remarked on the platform. “Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”

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