Science, Technology, and Social Media

‘Speak Your Mind’: Twitter’s New CEO Signals Commitment To Free Speech

Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino indicated she will prioritize freedom of speech on the platform in a Twitter thread on Monday.

Yaccarino became CEO in June after leaving her role at NBCUniversal as chair of Global Advertising and Partnerships in May, and she is currently the chairman of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Taskforce on Future of Work, causing concerns that she would support censorship more than Musk, her predecessor. However, she indicated that would not be the case in a Twitter thread about her vision for Twitter on Monday.

“It’s also becoming clear that the global town square needs transformation—to drive civilization forward through the unfiltered exchange of information and open dialogue about the things that matter most to us,” she tweeted. 

“Have you ever been talking with someone particularly insightful and thought, you should have the freedom to speak your mind. We all should. Enter Twitter 2.0.”

In addition to committing to free speech, Yaccarino also expressed other priorities.

“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 WEF has regularly sought to crack down on speech classified as harmful, recommending a new method to censor online information using a small team of experts to teach artificial intelligence to identify “misinformation” and detrimental content, according to a 2022 article. Further, the organization has hosted panel conversations that discussed pushing back against “disinformation.”

Yaccarino served as chair of the nonprofit advertising organization Ad Council in 2021-2022, according to her LinkedIn. The Ad Council advised Twitter on COVID-19 misinformation, according to journalist Matt Taibbi.

“The commitment to open source transparency and accepting a wide range of viewpoints remains unchanged,” Musk tweeted in May shortly before officially announcing Yaccarino as his successor.

Twitter’s advertising revenue plummeted 59% during the five weeks from April 1 to the first week of May compared to the same period in 2022, according to an internal presentation obtained by The New York Times. 

Multiple major companies cut or stopped spending on Twitter since Musk took over the company, with ad agencies claiming it was because of so-called misinformation and hate speech.

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Jason Cohen

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