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The new X team is taking shape, with X staff being told on Monday that Elon Musk will now officially become the platform’s product and engineering chief, while new CEO Linda Yaccarino takes on responsibility for all other divisions.

Yaccarino’s main focus is winning back advertisers, and getting the company’s ad business back on track. X’s ad revenue is down 50% year-over-year, and while the company had hoped that its new subscriptions push would offset some of those losses, take up of XBlue has thus far been lower than expectation, meaning that it will be reliant on ad dollars for the foreseeable future.

Initially, Elon Musk had outlined a plan that would see 50% of Twitter/X’s overall revenue coming from subscriptions, which would also better enable it to use its new verification offering as a means to combat bots in the app. But XBlue thus far has seen less than 1% of user take-up, which is well below the threshold it needs to make this a relevant consideration on the revenue front.

As such, Yaccarino’s task is to use her industry knowledge and skills to bring brands back, by using the shiny new X branding as a lure, and promoting the latest opportunities of the app.

A big consideration within that, however, is brand safety, amid ongoing concerns that hate speech has been on the rise in the app since Musk purchased the platform. X is also looking to combat these claims, by suing the Center for Countering Digital Hate over its reports on the app’s worsening situation in regards to hate speech. X claims that 99.99% of the content that users see in the app is ‘healthy’ and within the bounds of acceptable speech, but various third-party analysis reports suggest otherwise, which continues to weigh on the minds of potential ad partners.

As such, both Musk and Yaccarino will oversee the trust and safety team at the rebranded company, underlining its importance in this respect.

It’ll be difficult for X to counter such concerns, as the platform continues to reinstate previously banned users, and Musk himself continues to share controversial opinions on hot-button topics.

Another potential problem is that X is allowing Community Notes to appear on paid ads, which is not great for ad partners.

X Community Note on ad

Elon has admitted that this is not great for revenue, and it’s this broader weight of less-than-advertiser-friendly approaches that has clearly spooked many brands.

So it’s not just brand safety concerns that X is contenting with, while the re-brand is also not particularly conducive to enhancing brand partnerships. But now, Musk and Yaccarino will be working together to combat each aspect, in a bid to get the business back on track.

Yaccarino has also told staff that she’s looking to appoint a new leader for brand safety and suitability at some stage in the near future.

The challenges for X are significant, and the re-brand has likely compounded this to some degree, which could see more advertisers re-assessing their options, and considering the potential of other apps.

But at the same time, X claims to have reached a new high in monthly users, and if those claims are correct, advertisers will continue to pay attention to where audiences are engaged.

That’s the real test. Can X continue to win over users, despite negative perception in the media, and claims of reduced enforcement of hate speech?

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