We already knew that yesterday was a tough day for some Twitter employees. Today Politico reveals that the lawyer who heads Twitter’s trust and safety team started crying when talking about what might be coming next for the site.
Shortly after billionaire Elon Musk bought the powerful social media platform, top Twitter lawyer Vijaya Gadde called a virtual meeting with the policy and legal teams she oversees to discuss what the new ownership could mean for them.
Gadde cried during the meeting as she expressed concerns about how the company could change, according to three people familiar with the meeting. She acknowledged that there are significant uncertainties about what the company will look like under Musk’s leadership…
Gadde, who has worked at Twitter since 2011, is the key executive charged with overseeing Twitter’s trust and safety, legal and public policy functions. She is seen internally as Twitter’s “moral authority” and the executive tasked with handling sensitive issues like harassment and dangerous speech.
Gadde played a leading role in negotiating the deal between Twitter and Musk, according to one person familiar with the dynamics.
Gadde holds one of the most controversial positions at Twitter: Her teams decide how to moderate content. That’s made her a target of right-wing criticism, particularly when Twitter blocked the distribution of a New York Post article about President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, in 2020. She faced a renewed wave of criticism after multiple reports confirmed she was behind the decision to ban Trump from Twitter.
Breaking Points co-host Saagar Enjeti pointed out that Gadde has been the tip of the censorious spear at Twitter. Elon Musk responded by saying the blocking of the NY Post‘s truthful story about Hunter Biden was “incredibly inappropriate.”
Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 26, 2022
I think that’s what you call a hint. I guess we’ll see what happens but I hope it means that once Musk is formally in control of Twitter Vijaya Gadde will be out of a job. To be clear, I don’t believe the Hunter Biden story would have changed the course of the election if not for the actions of Twitter and Facebook. But that’s beside the point. The decision to block the story was indefensible and wrong regardless of the impact. Jack Dosey said it was “unacceptable” a day after it happened. He was right then and Musk is right now.
Even if you overlook her history (and why would you), Gadde does not seem like the right fit for making Twitter more tolerant of free speech. On the contrary, she is part of the problem Musk is hoping to solve. Having her stay on would be asking for trouble. Maybe Gadde knows what’s coming and yesterday’s emotion was partly based on an awareness she’s saying goodbye. Losing this gig will definitely be a big loss for her personally.
Gadde’s total compensation was more than $16.9 million last year, the San Francisco-based company disclosed in a preliminary annual proxy statement filed April 1. That’s up from the roughly $7.3 million she earned in 2020.
I’m sure she’ll land on her feet. There are plenty of other social media companies out there who aren’t as interested in free speech as her new boss.
Update: Some pushback from a Twitter engineer but it has already been deleted.
Appears deleted now but to be fair appears Connor does actually want to stay at Twitter under Elon pic.twitter.com/9LdOxF6TM3
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) April 26, 2022
Except the documents in question weren’t hacked and the story in question explained where they came from. Also, Twitter does not apply the policy evenly.
It’s outrageous to argue that policy has been applied equally. ProPublica just published a major story based on leaked billionaire tax returns—a felony—and it was all over Twitter without consequence. https://t.co/X1JZbdkv5C
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) April 26, 2022
Meanwhile, there’s already pushback on Musk for commenting on the Politico story and thereby inciting “hateful tweets.”
I'd imagine every Twitter employee is looking at this and thinking what if they're next. Just a sample: pic.twitter.com/gGGQaOZ4Yj
— Dave Lee (@DaveLeeFT) April 26, 2022