Elon Musk's devout army of "free speech absolutists" responded with mixed — often unfavorable — reactions to the planned installation of Linda Yaccarino as Twitter's new CEO. Yaccarino's longstanding ties to the mainstream media and advertising worlds, which some users believe will bring new threats to their free speech, are so far the biggest concernt being expressed on the site — though some of the more conspiracy-minded have also jumped on the fact that Yaccarino has ties to the globalist World Economic Forum (WEF). As a result, "RIP Twitter" was the #1 trending topic, but has since disappeared — an act that some Twitter users believe is a signal that Twitter censorship is already returning.
Musk made a surprising move Thursday in announcing the hiring of former NBCUniversal executive Linda Yaccarino as the new CEO of Twitter — an announcement that has taken the Twitterverse by storm. While some users have welcomed Yaccarino with open arms, others have reservations about her past affiliations and their implications for the future of the platform.
LMAO - “RIP Twitter” was not only removed from the #1 trend spot - but removed from the entire list. Just like old Twitter 😂 pic.twitter.com/UvzZH1Couw— Catturd ™ (@catturd2) May 12, 2023
"RIP Twitter" trends #1 after Elon announces he's named Linda Yaccarino, Board Chair of the Ad Council and Chairman, Global Advertising and Partnerships of NBCUniversal, as the company's new CEO.— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) May 12, 2023
Fair, or unfair? pic.twitter.com/53AVwaw5nx
First and foremost, it's worth mentioning that Yaccarino certainly seems to possess the experience and qualifications needed to lead a tech-media platform such as Twitter. With more than 11 years at NBCUniversal and prior stints at Turner Broadcasting, she's a seasoned media executive who's managed a global team in corporate synergy and came up with innovative ad sales strategies — and that's just scratching the surface, says this CNBC report. While her background in advertising might not exactly be music to the ears of some users wary of Twitter's commodification, it shows that she could bring a much-needed strategic expertise to the table, ensuring the platform remains competitive and financially viable.
Musk indicated Friday that Yaccarino would focus on business operations while he would handle new technology and product design. This could potentially create a constructive division of labor, allowing Yaccarino to work her magic on the business end while Musk steers the platform toward technological innovation. That being said, it would be unrealistic to expect Twitter's transformation to be an overnight affair. As with any change of leadership, only time will reveal how Yaccarino's tenure will impact the platform's trajectory.
RIP Twitter pic.twitter.com/3PF0GjleVr— Nina Davisson (@NinaDavisson) May 12, 2023
Why is this happening ? RIP Twitter pic.twitter.com/xsIBzdU6Cq— Murtaza Rizvi (@pierizvi) May 12, 2023
As far as the reception by Twitter users goes, reactions to Yaccarino's appointment have been mixed — and the critiques are quite instructive. Some users voiced concerns over her background as a "mainstream media" executive, which they believe could lead to bias and censorship, while others highlighted her involvement with the World Economic Forum, implying that she might be more aligned with corporate and elite interests rather than Twitter's diverse user base. The underlying message seems to be a fear that Yaccarino's appointment might signal a shift towards the top-down control of content and a stifling of free expression, which so-called 'free speech absolutists' claim to fear the most.
The new Twitter CEO isn't a woke liberal. Just FYI.— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) May 12, 2023
Another important point to consider is Elon Musk's own influence on Twitter: As Executive Chairman and CTO, he will still have considerable control over the company's future direction, and given his history of pushing the envelope when it comes to free speech and censorship, he could potentially serve as a counterbalance to Yaccarino's media-centric background.
RIP Twitter, was nice while it lasted. Elonya is taking over. pic.twitter.com/rq3eGfXXFM— Paddy (@PaddyPsy) May 11, 2023
In any case, what's clear is that Yaccarino will inherit a host of challenges that have cropped up under Musk's ownership, including advertiser exodus, service disruptions, regulatory scrutiny, and growing competition from rival platforms, according to Mercury News. Succeeding in this volatile landscape will necessitate a delicate balancing act that takes into account the concerns of all stakeholders, including advertisers, regulators, and, most importantly, users.
New Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino @lindayacc in 2016:— Eric Abbenante (@EricAbbenante) May 12, 2023
"There's a lot of stuff an algorithm can't tell you"
RIP Twitter algorithms pic.twitter.com/WCIv1pZ5qi
Ultimately, the success or failure of Twitter under Yaccarino's leadership will hinge on her ability to strike this balance while preserving the platform's core values of free expression and user engagement. And as we watch this saga unfold, one thing's for sure: Whether you're a Yaccarino skeptic or supporter, her ascension to the top of the Twitter hierarchy marks the beginning of an intriguing new chapter in the platform's ever-evolving story— one that could quite possibly be a game-changer for the entire world of social media.
The WEF associated future CEO of Twitter promotes influence peddling for advertisers & content moderation that makes advertisers comfortable. We know what happens when you give corporations and their political puppets power over content. I don’t like this. pic.twitter.com/Hj29KH5vD0— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) May 12, 2023
RIP Twitter? 😥— ☆.｡𝓐𝓷𝓷 𝓢𝓽𝓮𝓲𝓷.｡☆ (@Web3Brainiac) May 12, 2023
The new CEO is official now and looks like she's a WEF insider 🙄 pic.twitter.com/IaNukNgdcw