Last Updated on November 29, 2021
Parag Agrawal, the new CEO of Twitter, previously claimed that the platform should “focus less” on free speech, and tweeted that there is no distinction between white people and racists.
On Monday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that he was stepping down from the position effective immediately, and that Twitter’s Chief Technology Officer, Parag Agrawal, would replace him.
“I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders,” Dorsey said in an email statement. “My trust in Parag as Twitter’s CEO is deep. His work over the past 10 years has been transformational. I’m deeply grateful for his skill, heart, and soul. It’s his time to lead.”
not sure anyone has heard but,
I resigned from Twitter pic.twitter.com/G5tUkSSxkl
— jack⚡️ (@jack) November 29, 2021
In response to Dorsey, Agrawal said that he was “honoured and humbled,” and had “deep gratitude” for him and the team at Twitter, adding that he was filled with “so much excitement for the future” now he was to lead as CEO. “Our purpose has never been more important,” he said in an email.
However, skeletons have already jumped out of Agrawal’s closet. In an interview from November 2020 with Technology Review, Agrawal, in his position as Twitter’s CTO, said in response to a question about combatting misinformation, that Twitter should not be “bound by the First Amendment,” and “focus less” on free speech:
Our role is to serve a healthy public conversation and our moves are reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation. The kinds of things that we do about this is, focus less on thinking about free speech, but thinking about how the times have changed. One of the changes today that we see is speech is easy on the internet. Most people can speak. Where our role is particularly emphasized is who can be heard.
The scarce commodity today is attention. There’s a lot of content out there. A lot of tweets out there, not all of it gets attention, some subset of it gets attention. And so increasingly our role is moving towards how we recommend content and that sort of, is, is, a struggle that we’re working through in terms of how we make sure these recommendation systems that we’re building, how we direct people’s attention is leading to a healthy public conversation that is most participatory.
Previous disturbing tweets have also been unearthed by keen-eyed Twitter users. In an October 2010 tweet, the new Twitter CEO wrote that “If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists.” Although the statement was likely a direct quote from somebody else, it is unclear why Agrawal would have posted such a divisive statement without qualifying it, if he didn’t believe in it.
"If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists."
— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) October 26, 2010
Andrew Torba, CEO of Alt Tech social media company Gab, argued that the tweet was proof that Agrawal is “anti-white.” National File has reached out to Twitter for comment on what Agrawal meant by his tweet, and asked if the company agreed that re-directing bigotry against an entire racial group is an acceptable response to facing bigotry. This article will be updated with any response from Twitter.
It is unclear why Dorsey is stepping down as Twitter CEO. Elliott Management, the investment firm with a stake in Twitter, reportedly sought to remove Dorsey from his position in 2020, although a deal was reached with Twitter’s management to keep him as CEO.
Speculation has unsurprisingly abounded that Paul Singer, the founder of Elliott Management, has now been successful. Tucker Carlson in 2019 slammed Singer, claiming that people like him are destroying middle America.