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What X CEO Linda Yaccarino Claimed at the Code Conference

Linda Yaccarino, CEO, X/Twitter speaks onstage during Vox Media’s 2023 Code Conference at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel on September 27. Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media

X/Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino moved from one hot seat to another on Wednesday night when she sat down for a live, at times testy interview with CNBC’s Julia Boorstin on the final day of Vox Media’s Code Conference. The former NBCUniversal ad exec, who succeeded Elon Musk in June, has been trying to lure back advertisers who bolted the platform amid the myriad controversies of the Musk era. But there have also been persistent questions regarding how much power and autonomy Musk, who still runs product and engineering at the company, has actually yielded to her. Onstage at the Code Conference, Yaccarino repeatedly defended Musk and insisted everything was on the up and up at X, but also seemed rattled, at times, and uncomfortable with some of Boorstin’s questions.

Her appearance came an hour after Kara Swisher interviewed Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, on the same stage. Roth left the company a few weeks after Musk took over, and after being targeted by Musk on Twitter, had his life upended by a wave of harassment, including death threats. Speaking with Swisher, Roth expressed his continued concerns about Musk and the platform, explaining that Twitter had struggled with safety, security, and disinformation before Musk took over and gutted the teams and systems the company had put in place to address them. Roth also offered some sobering advice for Yaccarino, based on his own experience:

Look at what your boss did to me. It happened to me. It happened after he sang my praises publicly. It happened after I didn’t attack him. I didn’t attack the company. And then he did that to me. I hope she is thinking about what those risks are and what she might face. If not for yourself, for your family, for your friends, for those that you love, be worried. You should be worried. I wish I had been more worried.

Yaccarino’s response to Roth’s comments, and the other key claims she made in her Code Conference appearance, are collected below. Both interviews are also featured in a new supersize episode of On With Kara Swisher:

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Yaccarino mostly dismissed Yoel Roth’s concerns about X and her own personal safety

Asked about Roth’s comments, Yaccarino tried to insert some distance. “Yoel and I don’t know each other. He doesn’t know me. I don’t know him. I work at X. He worked at Twitter,” she told Boorstin. “X is a new company building a foundation based on free expression and freedom of speech. Twitter, at the time, was operating on a different set of rules as set by himself, different philosophies and ideologies that were creeping down the road of censorship. It’s a new day at X. And I’ll leave it at that.”

She also said that she appreciated Roth’s concerns, noting that “I think that’s just a human emotion when you get thrust into such a public spotlight.”

Regarding her own personal safety, she commented that the risk of harassment was just part of the job. “I feel great. I’m well protected,” she said.


Yaccarino claimed that almost all of Twitter’s top advertisers were back.

Yaccarino told Boorstin that “90 percent of the top 100 advertisers have returned to the platform in the last 12 weeks alone,” and that overall, about 1,500 advertisers had come back over that same period, attracted by X’s “power and significance.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that while some major advertisers have indeed resumed advertising on the platform, “ad buyers say others remain hesitant largely because of turmoil surrounding the site.”


She also said “key” user-engagement metrics were “trending very, very positively.”

Yaccarino claimed that there are now more than 540 million monthly active users on the platform. “When you look at the length of time spent, engagement on X, the key metrics are trending very, very positively,” she said. Asked for specifics, however, Yaccarino didn’t provide any. Instead, she suggested Boorstin wasn’t asking “the right questions.”


She claimed that X would be profitable by early 2024.

“From an operating cash-flow perspective, we are just about break even,” Yaccarino told Boorstin. “Now that I have immersed myself in the business and we have a good set of eyes on what is predictable, what’s coming is that it looks like in early ’24, we will be turning a profit,” she also said.


She went heavy on the grandiosity.

“The velocity of change and the scope of ambition at X really does not exist anywhere else,” she said. “Forget the other platforms, at any other company on Earth, there is no analog for the book that is being written.”


She awkwardly dodged a question about Musk’s supposed plan to make all X users pay.

When Boorstin asked Yaccarino about Elon Musk’s recent announcement that X will require a paid monthly subscription, the CEO seemed confused. “Did he say we were moving to it specifically, or did he say that’s the plan?” When Boorstin asked if she and Musk had gone over the plan beforehand, Yaccarino replied, without much conviction, “We talk about everything.”


She tried to be diplomatic about Musk’s fight with the ADL.

Asked about her boss’s recent attacks on the Anti-Defamation League, Yaccarino told Boorstin that “I wish that would be different, we’re looking into that.” She also called on the ADL to acknowledge the platform’s efforts combating antisemitism. “It is disappointing that there is not equal time given to all the progress,” she said.


She claimed X is expanding its efforts to fight disinformation and protect election integrity.

According to the Information, X/Twitter “is cutting around half of the global team devoted to limiting disinformation and election fraud on the platform, including the head of the group, according to three people familiar with the situation.” Asked about that report, Yaccarino claimed the company was actually expanding those efforts: “It’s an issue we take very seriously and contrary to the comments that were made, there is a robust and growing team at X that is wrapping their arms around election integrity.”


She rejected the idea that Musk remains the real CEO, and sang his praises repeatedly.

Yaccarino said the speculation over whether or not she is really in control at X was “not nice.”

“He runs product. He runs technology. He leads a team of exceptionally talented engineers, and who’s kidding who? I don’t care what the structure is at Meta, but who wouldn’t want Elon Musk sitting by their side running product?”

“When you get inspired and pushed by Elon Musk, you do the things that you’d think were never normally possible,” she told Boorstin. “I’ve been there 12 weeks. I am still somewhat in awe of his availability to me.”

This post has been updated.

What X CEO Linda Yaccarino Claimed at the Code Conference