Twitter CEO pledges ‘world’s most accurate real-time information’

Linda Yaccarino lays out her vision for ‘Twitter 2.0’ a week after taking the helm of the troubled Elon Musk-owned platform.

Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino. She is addressing a group of young women. She looks animated and excited.
Yaccarino took over from Musk as CEO of Twitter a week ago [File: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for The Female Quotient via AFP]

New Twitter boss Linda Yaccarino has laid out her vision for the troubled social media platform ­– “Twitter 2.0” – as the world’s “town square” and a “reliable source of information”.

“Twitter is on a mission to become the world’s most accurate real-time information source and a global town square for communication. That’s not an empty promise. That’s OUR reality,” the new CEO said in a series of tweets on Monday, a week after taking the helm from billionaire owner and “free speech absolutist” Elon Musk.

Yaccarino said the platform needs “transformation” to “drive civilization forward through the unfiltered exchange of information and open dialogue about the things that matter most to us”.

As a former NBC Universal marketing executive, Yaccarino appears to be on a damage control campaign for the platform, which has been roiled by controversy since Musk bought it in October 2022.

Musk fired 80 percent of Twitter’s staff, rolled back content moderation and introduced a controversial revamp of Twitter’s “verified status” feature from one reserved for public figures and media to a pay-to-play option open to any user willing to pay $8 a month for the blue tick.

While Twitter was known as a chaotic platform before Musk’s ownership, it has leaned into some of its worst tendencies over the past few months as users and rights groups have complained of a sharp escalation in bots, impersonation accounts, propaganda, disinformation, and hate speech.

Brands have also fled the platform as Twitter reportedly lost half of its advertisers following Musk’s $44bn takeover, leaving unanswered questions over how Musk plans to make the platform profitable.

These problems will now become Yaccarino’s as Musk turns his attention back to his other companies, Tesla and SpaceX.

The new CEO may soon find herself battling regulators in the European Union, home to some of the world’s toughest data privacy and content moderation laws.

Last month, the company pulled out of the EU’s voluntary code of practice against disinformation, although Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market of the European Union, said the platform could still be subject to EU rules.

“Obligations remain. You can run, but you can’t hide,” he wrote in a tweet, adding that teams were “ready for enforcement”.

Yaccarino did not say in her Twitter thread how she was planning to address Twitter’s most urgent problems but said users could “build something together that can change the world”.

 “When you start by wrapping your arms around this powerful vision, literally everything is possible. You have to genuinely believe – and work hard for that belief,” she tweeted.

Source: Al Jazeera