As mentioned in last night’s P-Love, Elon Musk took the opportunity provided by yesterday’s NYT’s DealBook Summit to spit into the eye of Linda Yaccarino and the big-money advertisers she’s been courting since accepting the position of CEO of X. In a room full of people, with Yaccarino in the front row of the audience, he told the advertisers who have paused their campaigns as part of a “boycott” that they could go F themselves. Andrew Ross Sorkin was not prepared.
If Elon hadn’t dissolved the X Board of Directors when he took over the platform, I’d say he’s in big trouble. But there is no board. There are only minority shareholders and Linda Yaccarino. Yaccarino would have resigned before the sun went down yesterday if she had any self-respect. Instead, she doubled down on his immolation, posting on X:
Today @elonmusk gave a wide ranging and candid interview at @dealbook 2023. He also offered an apology, an explanation and an explicit point of view about our position. X is enabling an information independence that’s uncomfortable for some people. We’re a platform that allows people to make their own decisions. And here’s my perspective when it comes to advertising: X is standing at a unique and amazing intersection of Free Speech and Main Street — and the X community is powerful and is here to welcome you. To our partners who believe in our meaningful work — Thank You.
When I peeked at X for this article, those partners still include Mondelēz International, Grey Goose Vodka, and probably the My Pillow Guy. By all reports, Linda’s ego is in the driver’s seat, which puts her on par with Musk and Trump as far as trustability and stability go. Whatever hopes any other advertisers had of her tempering Musk’s nonsense are out the window.
Elon believes that if he allows the platform to die for want of advertisers, the general public will decide who is ultimately responsible for the platform’s failure. He’s betting we turn against the brands. That’s a bad bet. At the end of October, Slate reported that X has lost 13% of users since Musk took over. That was before his recent public support of anti-semitism and white supremacist propaganda.
According to more recent analysis by Apptopia, the numbers are more grim than X is letting on.
“Earth” has already judged X as being The Bad Place and has moved on to other platforms. Elon just hasn’t gotten the memo yet. Perhaps it’s under all of the dated pizzagate jokes he’s got piled on his desk.
He can try to make this the fault of the advertisers who have abandoned the platform. There will always be a contingent who agrees with that sentiment; you need to look no further than the comments on that YouTube video if you want proof of that. But the reality is that we’ve all been witness to Musk dismantling the social media platform step by step, handing the keys of the Twitter Kingdom over to the worst dregs of internet society. It has become the greatest dumpster fire of all time, where people pay subscription pricing to further hate speech in one giant neo-nazi circle jerk. It was a great concept that was disemboweled by an egomaniac who now wants to paint himself as a victim of those users and advertisers who don’t want to be associated with or victimized by hate speech. He, and Linda Yaccarino, have ignored the advice of every rational person around them, and now they want to make it anyone’s fault but their own.