X CEO Linda Yaccarino claims that the company formerly known as Twitter is almost breaking even.
“I’ve been at the company eight weeks,” Yaccarino said in her first broadcast interview since taking on her new role. “The operational run rate right now… we’re pretty close to break even.”
This is a surprising declaration, given the company’s financial struggles since its acquisition by Elon Musk. Ad revenue is plummeting as brands pause spending on the platform, and X has gone to desperate lengths to get more cash flow — remember when we all got rate limited for not subscribing to Twitter Blue? Or when the company curbed its developer community by charging exorbitant rates for API access?
But if Yaccarino’s account can be trusted, it seems that X’s financials are shaking out. After all, it did reduce its staff size from around 8000 to 1500 — but laid off employees have still yet to receive their promised three months of severance. Those aren’t the only outstanding payments that the company is on the hook for. X is also facing multiple lawsuits over not paying rent for company office spaces in several countries.
“Our data licensing and API with X is an incredible business. Our new subscription business [is] growing,” Yaccarino said. “And then, part of my, what I would say, expertise and experience, and what I came to do, was to drive advertising at the company.”
She added that she is having daily meetings with brands, which she says are encouraging for the company’s ads business. X also is integrating AI-powered ad tech that lets brands choose how careful they want to be with the kinds of content their ads are placed alongside. According to Musk, less conservative product placements will be sold at a discount.
Yaccarino is a far less controversial, more trusted source than Musk, a divisive figure whose claims are hard to take at face value. However, some of her statements about X seem difficult to substantiate. For one, she told CNBC reporter Sara Eisen, “I can confidently sit in front of you and say that 99.9% of all posted impressions are healthy.”
“How do you define healthy, though?” Eisen pushed back. “Is porn healthy? And are conspiracy theories healthy?”
Yaccarino says that this “health” is due to X’s success with “freedom of speech, not freedom of reach,” and claimed that “if [a post] is lawful but not awful, it’s extraordinarily difficult for you to see it.”
When asked about public figures like Kanye West, an extremely vocal antisemite who is planning to return to Twitter, Yaccarino parroted Musk’s talking point that “what’s at the core of freedom of expression [is] you might not agree with what everyone is saying.”
We can wager, though, that more than 0.01% of X’s population would likely consider it an unhealthy experience to read West’s bigoted tirades.
To close out the conversation, Yaccarino was asked about one of the most absurd subplots that Silicon Valley has seen: will Musk and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg cage fight?
“We’ll see if that cage match really does happen,” she said. “What I can say is that I’ve had a front row seat of witnessing that Elon is training.”