By Michael Rectenwald for the Mises Institute | May 24, 2023
On May 12, 2023, Elon Musk announced that Linda Yaccarino, the now former chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, would become the new CEO of Twitter. Musk’s appointment of Yaccarino followed an advertiser exodus that caused Twitter’s ad revenue to plummet by more than 60 percent from October 2022 through January 25, 2022, from around $127 million to just over $48 million. According to Pathmatics, by Sensor Tower, more than half of Twitter’s thousand advertisers pulled their ads from Twitter after Musk’s takeover of the social media company.
The flight of advertisers was due to concerns about Twitter’s content moderation and Musk’s so-called free-speech advocacy. In short, Musk’s supposed free-speech absolutism and his subsequent renunciation of the Democratic Party as “the party of division and hate” put Musk and Twitter squarely in the crosshairs of the establishment and its woke cartel. Yaccarino’s appointment represents Musk’s attempt to appease this seemingly all-powerful contingent. But the Yaccarino hire has no doubt damaged Musk’s reputation as a free speech advocate and dashed many hopes for Twitter as an open forum.
Soon after Musk’s announcement, a firestorm erupted on Twitter. Numerous posters claimed that Yaccarino was the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), a globalist organization that has strongly advocated social media censorship to exclude “misinformation,” “disinformation,” and “conspiracy theories.” Through its partnerships with the United Nations and over a thousand leading banks and corporations, the WEF has promoted its Great Reset project to advance “stakeholder capitalism” and “global governance.”.
Of course, Yaccarino is not the executive chairman of the WEF itself—that would be Klaus Schwab, who is the founder and chair—although her LinkedIn profile seems to suggest as much and is the source of the Twitter and alternative media confusion. But as noted by Reuters, Yaccarino is the chairman of the WEF’s Taskforce on the Future of Work and sits on the WEF’s Media, Entertainment and Culture Industry Governors Steering Committee. She declares that she is a “Global Leader” on her LinkedIn profile; however, it is unclear whether she is an alumnus of the WEF’s Young Global Leaders Forum, a training program that Schwab has claimed exerts enormous influence on leading political figures around the world.
Nevertheless, Yaccarino’s affiliation with the WEF should be a cause for concern for those Twitter users who advocate free speech on the platform, as should her statements during an interview with Musk that Twitter advertisers should have a say about Twitter content moderation. In response to Yaccarino’s questioning, Musk stated that Twitter has implemented “adjacency controls” that let marketers block ads from appearing next to “anything that is remotely negative.” That is, posts that include “anything remotely negative” are already subject to visibility filters that limit their reach to reduce their adjacency to ads. That means that Twitter limits the reach of posts that criticize governments, leading politicians, the Federal Reserve, or the globalist organizations with which Yaccarino is associated, for example.
Yaccarino is an establishment-approved figure and is very well respected in woke advertising circles, which is largely why Musk hired her. During her tenure at NBCUniversal, she also served as the chairman of the board of the Ad Council from 2021 to 2022, and she remains on the board of directors to this day. The Ad Council was a driving force in promoting masking, social distancing, and vaccinations throughout the covid crisis. Under Yaccarino’s direction, the Ad Council teamed up with the JED Foundation to produce its “Alone Together” public service announcement (PSA) campaign, which suggested that viewers stay home “alone” to save lives “together.” The PSA was picked up by numerous media outlets and other organizations.
Yaccarino’s WEF and Ad Council affiliations, and her advocacy of advertiser regulation of speech, have led some Twitter users and media outlets to declare that she is a globalist, a vaccine pusher, and another high-profile promoter of censorship. Indeed, it does appear that Musk has caved to the woke cartel and its state, corporate, and international governance enforcers.
Michael Rectenwald is the author of twelve books, including The Great Reset and the Struggle for Liberty: Unraveling the Global Agenda, Thought Criminal, Beyond Woke, Google Archipelago, and Springtime for Snowflakes. He is a distinguished fellow at Hillsdale College.