Despite Elon Musk’s promise to file a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against Media Matters, the “split-second” courts opened on Monday morning, the X/Twitter owner’s action has yet to materialize.
Meanwhile, with several major advertisers on the sidelines due to concerns about anti-Semitism on the platform, CEO Linda Yaccarino has spoken out against “detractors and manufactured distractions.”
The top executive, who comes from long stints running ad sales at NBCUniversal and Turner Broadcasting, is trying to repair the damage from Musk’s recent endorsement of an anti-Semitic post on X. The backlash to that move has gained additional steam thanks to a Media Matters report stating that several advertising messages appeared in anti-Semitic content. Musk and Yaccarino disputed the organization’s claims. Amid the protests, Apple, IBM and major media companies including Disney, Comcast, Paramount and Lionsgate have halted advertising on X.
In a post on Monday morning, Yaccarino wrote: “What we are doing at X is important and gets everyone’s attention. I believe deeply in our vision, our team and our community. I am also deeply committed to the truth and there is no other team in the world working as hard as the teams at X. When you are this important, there will be detractors and manufactured distractions, but we are unwavering in our mission. Thank you for being with us!
The executive also sent an internal memo to employees, which characterized the situation as a battle for freedom of expression.
“Our work is critical, but it is not always easy,” she wrote. “What we’re doing is important, which means it naturally invites criticism from those who don’t share our beliefs.”
Musk bought Twitter last year for $44 billion after trying unsuccessfully to get rid of the proposed purchase, which vastly overvalued the social media company. He laid off three-quarters of the workforce and reinstated a number of accounts that had been banned under previous management. The resulting operation, several watchdogs said, does not have sufficiently robust controls on hate speech or other objectionable content. While Musk has predicted a more diverse revenue mix and an increase in subscription revenue, Twitter remains dependent on advertising revenue.
Here is Yaccarino’s full memo:
In every corner of this company, we are working to create a platform for everyone. And there is no other platform that works as hard to protect freedom of expression as X does. Our work is critical, but it’s not always easy. What we are doing is important, which means it naturally invites criticism from those who do not share our beliefs.
While some advertisers may have temporarily halted investment due to a misleading and manipulated article, the data will tell the real story. Because for all of us who work at X, we have been extremely clear about our efforts to combat anti-Semitism and discrimination, as there is no place for it anywhere in the world.
I want to encourage you to read and listen to all comments. On the one hand, there is a minority that tries to use deceptive attacks to undermine our work. But on the other hand, there are courageous supporters and partners who believe in X and the meaningful work you are all doing. Hold on to that and move forward. No critic will ever stop us from fulfilling our mission to protect freedom of expression.
Let’s continue to put our values into practice and support each other. I’m incredibly proud to be on the front lines with all of you – and I’ll see you all in the office tomorrow morning.