Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino Disputes Bloomberg Report That Harmful Content Is Spooking Advertisers, Insists That “99.99% Of Tweet Impressions Are Healthy”
Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino has forcefully disputed a Bloomberg article maintaining that a “surge” of harmful content on the Elon Musk platform has spooked advertisers.
Under the headline “Twitter Surge In Harmful Content a Barrier To Advertiser Return,” Wednesday’s piece detailed the ad struggles of the social platform eight months after Musk’s $44 billion acquisition. In the weeks after the deal closed last fall, Musk laid off a majority of the company’s staff (including content moderators and other employees charged with evaluating the potential harm of posts and account holders). He also rolled back restrictions on content and introduced a paid verification program designed as a supplement to ad revenue.
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The execution of the verification scheme was rocky, however, and users swiftly found ways to impersonate major brands and create mayhem. In one infamous case, drug maker Eli Lilly’s stock price sank after a prankster tweeted that insulin would be given away for free. In the wake of that episode and others, a number of major advertisers paused their spending on Twitter.
Yaccarino, who led ad sales for NBCUniversal for a decade and before that was a senior sales exec at Turner, became Twitter CEO in June. In an extra-long tweet (read it below), she detailed her objections to the article. She complained that it “pulled together a collection of incorrect, misleading, and outdated metrics, mostly from the period shortly after Twitter’s acquisition. It also lacks extremely important context not to mention critical updates on our progress and actions.”
Twitter has made progress on “reducing the spread of hate speech, proactively preventing child exploitation, and giving brands more control over where their ads appear – from adjacency controls to third-party verification,” the CEO asserted. “Each step of the way, Twitter has been more transparent about this work than other platforms, and groups outside of Twitter have validated our impact.”
In a corresponding note to advertisers, Yaccarino took aim at one claim in the article, that harmful content on Twitter has increased over the past six months. “This is an absolutely false assertion. 99.99% of Tweet impressions are healthy,” she wrote.
Because Twitter is now a private company, it is difficult to assess the state of its ad business, which made up the vast majority of total revenue in the pre-Musk era. Even in the view of Musk and his backers, the company’s value has dropped significantly in recent months. Bankruptcy, Musk has mused, could be an inevitable destination if current trends continue.
Here is Yaccarino’s tweet:
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