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WASHINGTON — On Friday, Twitter CEO Elon Musk confirmed that he has chosen ex-NBCUniversal advertising executive Linda Yaccarino as CEO of Twitter. Musk said that he will be Twitter’s executive chair and chief technology officer, overseeing product, software and sysops, while Yaccarino “will focus primarily on business operations.”

Free Press Co-CEO Jessica J. González, who is also the co-founder of the #StopToxicTwitter campaign, said:

“Make no mistake: Elon Musk may be giving someone else the CEO title but he’s still retaining ultimate control of Twitter as executive chair and head of product. Cleaning up Twitter requires reversing Musk’s dangerous policy decisions, reinvesting in content moderation and enforcement, and restructuring the platform's governance. Musk is setting future CEO Linda Yaccarino up to fail as long as he continues to make the platform toxic, it will be impossible to lure back advertisers and users.

“We urge Yaccarino to take Twitter’s responsibility to protect human rights seriously. We stand ready to engage with her on much-needed measures to safeguard expression and safety on the platform.”

Nora Benavidez, Free Press senior policy counsel and director of digital justice and civil rights, wrote in her CNN Op-Ed:

“With regard to reversals, Twitter’s potential new leadership needs to undo its decision to allow Covid-19 misinformation and disinformation to spread unchecked across the social network. They need to retire Twitter’s pay-to-play blue checkmark feature, which allows verified users to post longer videos and have their content prioritized at the top of replies, mentions and searches. And they must cease Musk’s “general amnesty” plan on accounts that were suspended before he took over.

“Twitter must also reinvest in moderation by bringing back the trust and safety and human rights teams that were in place prior to Musk’s mass layoffs, and it needs to beef up this force to ensure that moderation occurs in every major language. It also needs to submit to regular audits to guarantee that policies are equitable and applied consistently.

“A restructuring of Twitter’s governance and leadership must include C-suite-level executives with proven human and civil rights expertise. This work isn’t possible without oversight from a new board of directors with enough diversity of thought and international perspective to ensure that Twitter doesn’t become a catalyst for anti-democratic and authoritarian movements worldwide.”

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