Tech

X will be profitable in 2024, CEO claims in tense interview

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According to X CEO Linda Yaccarino, the company formerly known as Twitter will be profitable by early 2024.

“Now that I have immersed myself in the business, and we have a good set of eyes on what is predictable, what’s coming is that it looks like in early ’24, we will be turning a profit,” Yaccarino said on stage at the Code Conference.

That’s a big statement for a company that didn’t turn an annual profit in its first 13 years, and which had struggled to maintain profitability since — let alone for a company that got bought by Elon Musk only a year ago. But these comments are consistent with Yaccarino’s previous statements over few months since she became CEO. In August, she said on CNBC that X was “pretty close to break even” in terms of operational run rate. And she has also stated in a leaked memo that X usage is at an all-time high.

“90% of the top 100 advertisers have returned to the platform in the last twelve weeks alone,” Yaccarino said.

X also reduced its spending by cutting the size of its staff from 8,000 to about 1,500, yet laid off employees still have not been paid severance. X is also facing multiple lawsuits over not paying rent for company office spaces in several countries.

Yaccarino also added that the time users spend on X has gone up since June. But the interviewer, CNBC’s Julia Boorstin, pushed back on these claims about user engagement, pointing to data from app analytics firm Apptopia. Though Boorstin didn’t cite the specific statistics on stage, Apptopia has recently reported that X downloads are down 30% in the two months after its rebrand from Twitter. Apptopia also reported decreased web traffic to X, and lower user numbers since before Twitter went public.

Around the time that Boorstin asked about daily active users, the air between the two turned somewhat hostile. Yaccarino came on stage already on the defensive, as the Code Conference added an interview with former Twitter trust and safety head Yoel Roth to the day’s events at the last minute. Though Musk was fond of Roth at the beginning of his tenure at Twitter, Roth ended up leaving the company and was subject to serious threats and harassment, which Musk played no small part in.

When asked about what advice he would give to Yaccarino, Roth had more to say about her own personal safety than her management of X. He said he was taken aback by a recent profile of Yaccarino, in which she opened up about the online attacks she’s weathered in her new role.

“Nobody should have to experience that. Not a CEO, not a journalist, not me. Not anybody…. Look what your boss did to me,” he said, referencing Musk’s role in his harassment, which became so extreme that he had to go into hiding.

“It happened to me. It happened after he sang my praises publicly. It happened after I didn’t attack him. I didn’t attack the company. I quietly left,” Roth said, then spoke directly to Yaccarino. “For those that you love, you should be worried. I wish I had been more worried.”

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