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Advertisers flee X, but Linda Yaccarino stays the course

Advertisers flee X, but Linda Yaccarino stays the course


In a company-wide memo, the X (formerly Twitter) CEO doubled down on her commitment to the company’s direction, even as advertisers leave the platform after Elon Musk’s antisemitic posts.

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Linda Yaccarino at Vox Media’s 2023 Code Conference
Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media

Last week, Elon Musk appeared to endorse antisemitic conspiracy theories and posted about supporting white pride on his social platform X, formerly Twitter. Musk’s tweets were then highlighted by a Media Matters article that found advertising from major companies had shown up next to pro-Nazi content. Major advertisers then halted their ad spends on the platform. To address the controversy, CEO Linda Yaccarino sent a memo titled “Our Work Is Meaningful,” reiterating her commitment to X.

As pressure mounts for the company to distance itself from supporting antisemitism, Forbes reported that advertisers are urging Yaccarino to resign as well. A former NBCUniversal chairperson with close ties to the ad industry, Yaccarino had been brought into Musk’s company to restore relationships with the companies that make up the majority of X’s revenue. Advertisers were already concerned their paid content would show up next to antisemitic or otherwise bigoted posts, but they’re especially worried now, when the platform’s owner seems to be actively stoking conspiracies about the Jewish community.

Addressing X employees in a company-wide email, Yaccarino expressed her enthusiasm about the company’s current direction. In the memo, first published by The Hollywood Reporter and obtained by The Verge, she claimed that advertisers had “temporarily paused investments” — an interesting way to phrase major advertisers like Apple, Disney, and IBM pulling their business from the platform because of Musk’s seeming endorsement of antisemitism. She also blamed articles that she believed had been “manipulated” for damaging the platform’s reputation. “The data will tell the real story,” she wrote in her memo, possibly a reference to Musk’s post / screenshot indicating that he would sue Media Matters.

In response, Media Matters’ president Angelo Carusone said, “Elon Musk has spent the last few days making meritless legal threats, elevating bizarre conspiracy theories, and lobbing vicious personal attacks against his ‘enemies’ online. Even if he does not follow through with his threat to sue, the volatility of actions reinforce why major brands are rightly skittish of partnering with X.”

Meanwhile, Semafor reports that Yaccarino has enlisted her son Matt Madrazo to reboot X’s political advertising business, in hopes to make up for the revenue lost by the “temporarily paused investments” of what previously were some of the company’s biggest clients.

Read Linda Yaccarino’s full memo below: