November 30, 2023

Despite Elon Musk’s vow to file a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against Media Matters the “split second” that courts opened today, the X/Twitter owner’s legal action has yet to materialize.

Meanwhile, with a number of major advertisers on the sidelines over concerns about antisemitism on the platform, CEO Linda Yaccarino spoke out against “detractors and fabricated distractions.”

The top executive, who came to the tech company six months ago after lengthy stints running ad sales at NBCUniversal and Turner Broadcasting, is looking to repair the damage from Musk’s recent endorsement of an antisemitic post on X. Backlash to that move gained additional force thanks to a Media Matters report contending that multiple ad messages had appeared next to antisemitic content. Musk and Yaccarino have disputed the organization’s claims. Amid the outcry, Apple, IBM and major media companies including Disney, Comcast, Paramount and Lionsgate have all paused advertising on X.

In a post Monday morning, Yaccarino wrote, “What we’re doing at X matters and has everyone’s attention. I believe deeply in our vision, our team, and our community. I’m also deeply committed to the truth and there is no other team on earth working as hard as the teams at X. When you’re this consequential, there will be detractors and fabricated distractions, but we’re unwavering in our mission. Thank you for standing with us!”

The exec also sent an internal memo to employees, which characterized the situation as a battle over free speech.

“Our work is critical, but it’s not always easy,” she wrote. “What we’re doing matters, which means it naturally invites criticism from those who do not share our beliefs.”

Musk bought Twitter last year for $44 billion after unsuccessfully trying to extricate himself from the proposed purchase, which vastly overvalued the social media company. He proceeded to fire three-quarters of the workforce and restore a number of accounts that had been banned under prior management. The resulting operation, a number of watchdogs have asserted, does not have robust enough controls on hate speech or other objectionable content. While Musk had envisioned a more diversified revenue mix and an increase in subscription revenue, Twitter remains dependent on ad revenue.

Here is Yaccarino’s full memo:


Across every corner of this company, we’re working to create a platform for everyone. And there is no other platform that’s working as hard to protect free speech like X. Our work is critical, but it’s not always easy. What we’re doing matters, which means it naturally invites criticism from those who do not share our beliefs.

While some advertisers may have temporarily paused investments because of a misleading and manipulated article, the data will tell the real story. Because for all of us who work at X, we’ve been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination, as there’s no place for it anywhere in the world.

I want to encourage you to read and listen to all the feedback. On one side, there’s a vocal minority trying to use deceptive attacks to undermine our work. But on the other side, there are vocal supporters and courageous partners who believe in X and the meaningful work you are all doing. Hold on to that and keep pushing forward. No critic will ever deter us from our mission to protect free speech.

Let’s keep putting our values to work and lean on one another. I am extremely proud to be on the front line with you all — and I’ll see you all at the office tomorrow morning.


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