X chief Yaccarino claims renamed Twitter 'close' to break-even

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 11 2023 07:01 AM

An illustration pictures shows a user holding a mobile phone displaying the 'X' logo in front of Elon Musk's page in Los Angeles, California, USA, July 27, 2023. Twitter announced on July 23 that it will rebrand to X. Etienne Laurent, EPA-EFE
An illustration pictures shows a user holding a mobile phone displaying the 'X' logo in front of Elon Musk's page in Los Angeles, California, USA, July 27, 2023. Twitter announced on July 23 that it will rebrand to X. Etienne Laurent, EPA-EFE

SAN FRANCISCO, United States - Linda Yaccarino, CEO of social media platform X, said Thursday that the company formerly known as Twitter is "close" to breaking even and is hiring to beef up a staff slashed by owner Elon Musk.

Yaccarino shared the news during a CNBC interview in which she defended the safety of the platform as well as Musk's decision to replace its globally recognized name with X.

The former ad exec claimed that brands are returning to the X platform, naming Coca Cola, Visa and State Farm as being among them.

She credited, in part, X's policy of allowing users to post anything legal, no matter how "awful," but stopping it from being shared or benefiting from advertising.

"If it is lawful but it's awful, it's extraordinarily difficult for you to see it," Yaccarino contended.

However she skirted a question about where misinformation or unfounded conspiracy theories, perhaps even promoted by Musk himself, fit into that formula.

Musk said last month in an exchange on what was then called Twitter that the company was "still negative cash flow" due to a drop of around 50 percent in advertising revenue "plus heavy debt load."

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But Yaccarino said in the interview Thursday that X was "pacing well" and "pretty close to break-even."

She also added that the company was on a hiring bend, after Musk cut the Twitter employee ranks from 8,000 workers down to about 1,500 following his $44 billion acquisition last October.

As marketers soured on Musk's management style and mass firings, which gutted content moderation, the platform's advertising business collapsed.

In response, the entrepreneur has moved toward getting users to pay subscriptions and third-party apps to pay for access to the platform to bring in revenue.

Musk has said that he wants to create a super-app inspired by China's WeChat, which would function as a social media platform and also offer messaging and payments.

"If you stay Twitter, or you stay whatever your previous brand is, change tends to be only incremental and you get graded by a legacy report card," Yaccarino said of changing the name to X.

She said that Musk has been focusing on product design, while she runs the rest of the company.

"Elon works on the technology, dreams of what's next, then passes the baton to me," Yaccarino said.

"I bring it to market."

She played off the potential cage match between Musk and Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg as possibly being no more than a "humorous back and forth" between the billionaires.

"I don't think I will be on the undercard for the cage match," Yaccarino quipped.

"We'll see if that cage match really does happen."

She added that she saw Musk training for combat last week in San Francisco, so that much is for sure.

gc/des

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