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New Twitter CEO named, with likely moderation clashes ahead

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As widely rumored, the new Twitter CEO has been named as former NBCUniversal advertising exec Linda Yaccarino. Platform owner Elon Musk was making good on a promise he made last year, to abide by the results of a poll telling him to resign as the company’s head …

How Musk’s resignation as CEO came about

One of Musk’s many controversial policy changes was banning people from linking to their other social media profiles.

On Sunday, free speech absolutist Elon Musk banned Twitter users from posting links to their profiles on other social media sites, like Instagram and Mastodon.

The company specifies the prohibited platforms are “Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Post and Nostr.”

Musk quickly reversed course, and apologized – saying that future Twitter policy would be decided by user polls.

Software engineer Brianna Wu issued a challenge to Musk:

Amazingly, he did – and promised to abide by the result.

New Twitter CEO likely to clash with Musk on moderation

While Yaccarino’s appointment had been widely rumored, it still surprised some.

She recently interviewed Musk at an ad conference (above photo), and kept pressing him on whether he would take action to reduce hate speech and misinformation on the platform, in order to reassure ad buyers. Many of them – including Apple – had initially fled the platform, or massively cut back their ad spend, after banned users were reinstated.

Yaccarino has said that she supports “freedom of speech, not freedom of reach” – effectively saying that while anyone can tweet anything they like, the platform would be within its rights to take steps to limit the visibility of hate speech and the like. She suggested to Musk that reinstating an independent council to make moderation decisions would be the best move.

When some users with provocative views expressed concerns at this, Musk said they shouldn’t worry.

It seems inevitable that Musk and Yaccarino are going to clash on this issue, and personally I wouldn’t put money on her remaining in the role for more than a few months …

Original photo: WEF/Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary (CC2.0)

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