Twitter under new management: What changes can we expect?
Elon Musk announced on Thursday that he has hired a new CEO for Twitter, Linda Yaccarino, who will start in about six weeks. Musk will step down as CEO and become executive chair and chief technology officer, overseeing product, software, and systems operations.
Yaccarino is the chair of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, where she has worked for over 25 years. She is a respected leader in the advertising industry and has a deep understanding of social media.
Elon Musk has said that he wants to make Twitter a more open and free platform for speech. He has also said that he wants to make Twitter more profitable. Yaccarino’s experience in advertising and social media makes her a good fit for both of these goals.
— Linda Yaccarino (@lindayacc) May 3, 2023
An NBCUniversal spokesperson said that Yaccarino is currently in “back-to-back rehearsals” for an upfront presentation to advertisers. Twitter and NBCUniversal recently announced an expanded partnership for the service to amplify NBCU’s coverage of the 2023 Olympic Games.
Yaccarino also recently interviewed Elon Musk in person at the Possible 2023 marketing event in Miami.
While Musk may soon no longer be CEO, he still owns the company, which he has renamed “X.” It seems unlikely that giving someone else one specific title will make Twitter any less of a wild ride.
Musk became “Chief Twit” last October, when he closed his acquisition of the company, followed by the immediate firing of large portions of its executive staff and thousands of other employees.
The company has been in a state of flux ever since, with Musk making a number of controversial changes, such as banning former President Donald Trump from the platform.
Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!
My role will transition to being exec chair & CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2023
As Musk reshaped Twitter policy to align with his own preferences, speculation grew about the duration of his tenure and the impact it had on his other companies. Moreover, the Musk era brought about changes that disrupted Twitter’s relationships with users, public safety officials, and various stakeholders.
Notably, Musk’s influence extended to the platform’s advertising business. Concerns arose among major advertisers, leading them to pause spending on Twitter due to apprehensions about how Musk’s stance on free speech might affect their reputation. The influx of fake verified accounts that emerged after the launch of Musk’s revamped Twitter Blue further complicated matters.
Subsequently, Musk introduced a higher-priced Twitter Blue subscription and eliminated the traditional “legacy” verified checkmarks for users with less than a million followers. A user interface makeover was implemented, enabling users to swipe between an algorithmically sorted, recommendations-based For You timeline and a chronological Following timeline. Additionally, encrypted direct messages (DMs) were made available exclusively for verified users.
Throughout this transformative period, Musk’s actions on Twitter had far-reaching consequences, shaping not only the platform’s policies but also impacting its relationships, advertising revenue, and user experience.
Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 18, 2022
In December, Musk provided a preview of the CEO change by conducting a poll among his followers. He asked them if he should “step down as head of Twitter,” with a promise to honor the majority’s decision, despite the potential presence of bots in the responses.
This vote came on the heels of a widely criticized policy change implemented by Musk, which initially appeared to ban the sharing of links to other social network sites. However, Musk later clarified the rule and eventually rolled it back. He assured users that major policy changes would be subject to future votes, reaffirming his commitment to a more democratic decision-making process at Twitter. Shortly after, he tweeted the poll asking if he should step down as CEO.
I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 21, 2022
The poll received an overwhelming response, with approximately 17.5 million people participating. Of those, 57.5% indicated that Musk should no longer hold the position of CEO at Twitter.
The poll was not the first hint that Musk had considered relinquishing the day-to-day operations of Twitter. In November, while testifying in court about his compensation as CEO of Tesla, Musk expressed his intention to gradually reduce his involvement with Twitter and eventually find a successor to run the platform. This aligned with earlier reports suggesting that his role as CEO had always been intended as a temporary one.