FILE – Twitter CEO Elon Musk, center, speaks with Linda Yaccarino, chairman of global advertising and partnerships for NBC, at the POSSIBLE marketing conference, Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in Miami Beach, Fla.InternationalIndiaAfricaElon Musk named Linda Yaccarino CEO of his social media company on Friday, with the career media executive tasked with running business operations. Who is she? What’s her background? And why has her appointment gotten many Twitter users and Musk supporters riled up?Veteran media executive Linda Yaccarino stepped down from her job as head of advertising at US media giant NBCUniversal on Friday to accept the job of chief executive officer of Twitter, with Elon Musk announcing the move with a tweet.
"I am excited to welcome Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter! @LindaYacc will focus primarily on business operations, while I focus on product design and new technology," Musk wrote.
The businessman said he’s “looking forward to working with Linda to transform this platform into X, the everything app” – a mysterious new internet service announced by Musk last year which experts expect to emulate social media giants like China’s WeChat by incorporating messaging with things like video chat, games, online shopping and food delivery, etc.Yaccarino is set to start at her new job in about six weeks’ time, with Musk to step down as CEO of the company he bought last October.The South African-born billionaire oversaw a major shakeup of Twitter after acquiring it, cutting 80 percent of its workforce (including thousands of workers tasked with censoring at the behest of the US government and multinational corporations).Musk went on to provide a handful of journalists with thousands of internal documents demonstrating the mechanisms of this censorship, revealing how Twitter had shut down free speech and debate on stories ranging from the Hunter Biden laptop to the efficacy of Covid jabs. Musk also introduced a range of smaller reforms, engaging in the trolling of major Western media which get government funding by slapping them with the same “state-media” label that’s been applied to state media from Russia, China and Iran, and then doing away with the label altogether.Beyond PoliticsMusk Reportedly Mulls NBCUniversal’s Linda Yaccarino as New Boss For Twitter05:34 GMTGiven Musk’s self-professed commitments to free speech, Yaccarino’s appointment as CEO may seem like an odd choice, given that publicly available details on her career shows no signs of a drive to speak truth to power or challenge the system. Quite the opposite, in fact.After receiving a degree in liberal arts and telecommunications from Penn State in 1985, Yaccarino spent nearly 20 years as an ad and sales executive for TNT and its parent company Warner Bros. Discovery – a major US media conglomerate. In 2011, she was hired to do the same job at NBCUniversal. Yaccarino’s biggest accomplishment at NBCUniversal was overseeing the creation of Peacock – an ad-based streaming platform.Yaccarino effectively lobbied Musk to gain the businessman’s good graces, expressing interest in working with Twitter, inviting him to a recent media conference in Miami, praising his work ethic and “no-nonsense approach” to business, and making clear to that she would like to be Twitter’s CEO.
Red Flags Galore
Her LinkedIn profile states that Yaccarino has been chairwoman of the World Economic Forum’s taskforce on the future of work since 2019. She has also presided over the President’s Council on Sports Fitness and Nutrition, and pushed a $50 million media Covid-19 vaccination drive through the Ad Council – a long-operating US government cutout posing as a non-profit, in 2020.Musk himself has repeatedly criticized the WEF as an “unelected world government that the people never asked for and don’t want,” and has accused the mainstream media of “covering up” vax side effects while revealing that he himself suffered “major side effects” after taking a booster, and that a family member received even worse injuries. Yaccarino’s support for state and corporate positions on these two issues of concern to Musk have led to fears about the future at Twitter – and whether it will remain a bastion of free speech or return to pre-2022-style censorship.”I just don’t understand why you would choose someone even remotely affiliated with the WEF when someone in Elon’s position could bring in essentially anyone in the world,” one frustrated Musk follower tweeted in the wake of Yaccarino’s appointment.”She’s probably been at the forefront of the stuff that encourages censorship for a long time. I don’t trust her to promote free speech,” another wrote.“During her interview with you, she was most excited about your initiative to limit reach of tweets which are deemed hateful. ‘Freedom of speech, not freedom of reach’. In fact, that was her main selling point to the advertising execs in the audience, as she kept coming back to it,” another person pointed out. “She’s not here to improve the user experience. She wants Twitter to be a ‘safe space’,” the person warned.The same user also pointed to Yaccarino’s penchant for supporting “woke” social justice initiatives during her tenure at NBC, like support for diversity-based employment quotas, and that the company spent $100 million on various “woke” efforts.Musk, for his part, has been a been a steady critic of what he’s referred to as the “woke mind virus,” saying in a recent interview that the US needs to be “very cautious about anything that is anti-meritocratic and anything that results in the suppression of free speech.”Elon Musk Names ‘Virus’ That Poses ‘Biggest’ Threat to Modern Civilisation22 December 2021, 10:40 GMTWhile some blasted Musk for “trashing his brand – kind of like Bud Light” by hiring the lifelong media exec, others encouraged people to give Yaccarino “a chance,” suggesting she “may be more complex than her bio tells you,” or taking “a wait and see attitude.” A few expressed a glimmer of hope that maybe there’s something we don’t know, and that Musk may be somehow “playing 5D chess” with the appointment.Some took a more conspiratorial approach, asking whether this “off” appointment was the result of Musk and his family being “coerced” or “threatened” by the powers that be in the world.Others still expressed concern that the move comes on the heels of the announcement that fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson will be starting a show on Twitter, asking if the decision to hire Yaccarino was connected, or if Tucker may now lose his new platform as well.