The new Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal raises concerns about freedom of expression

Some critics fear that Twitter’s new CEO has a worse record of freedom of speech than his predecessor, given his “terrifying” public statements on the matter, a “horrific” new rule introduced on his first day at work, and one extensive management restructuring on Friday.

The concern is that Parag Agrawal’s leadership will impose even more restrictions on the site than that of Jack Dorsey – who notoriously censored the Post for its Hunter Biden email revelations, banned President Trump and the former Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan suspended for tweeting positively across the border on Wall – actions Dorsey later admitted were a “mistake”.

“You speak of an organization where freedom of expression is an integral part of what it does. I’ve seen the left talk about how Twitter is likely to support the more European view of free speech – which is not free speech, “said Dan Gainor of the conservative non-profit Watchdog Media Research Center.

In a 2018 interview, Agrawal said Twitter should “focus less on thinking about free speech and more on how times have changed”.

“Our role is particularly highlighted, who can be heard,” he continued. “Our role is increasingly focused on how we recommend content … how we draw people’s attention.”

Agrawal replaced Jack Dorsey as CEO on Monday.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Wikipedia co-founder and Internet theorist Larry Sanger popped the comments.

“So that’s how he stands for freedom of speech. Naturally. Another idiot from Silicon Valley who gets caught up in duplicity and uses an open public space for manipulation and indoctrination, ”he says furious in a tweet.

Naysayers found little consolation on Agrawal’s first full day when Twitter announced it was no longer allowed to post pictures or videos of people without their consent.

CUNY Journalism School media theorist and professor Jeff Jarvis said the move could have a negative impact on the way journalism is conducted on Twitter.

“If we go overboard in moral panic,” he said, “it can affect freedom of expression in general.”

“The woman who recorded the video of George Floyd, if she hadn’t been able to post this video, this case wouldn’t have happened and this killer would have gotten away with it. That worries me, “added Jarvis.

Gainor called the new restrictions “very alarming”.

The concern is that Agrawal’s leadership will restrict the site even more than Dorsey’s.
AP Photo / Richard Drew

“It bothers me because, for all his flaws, Jack Dorsey came from Twitter when Twitter was concerned with freedom of expression. He had to be dragged into the safe space era. This guy is new. And based on the actions they took on day one, he’s already there, ”said Gainor.

Councilor Joe Borelli (R-SI) said the new policy was “appalling”.

“People should have the right to take the cruellest and most obscene pictures of me without my consent. … Twitter sounds like they banned the burning of the statue of George III, ”he said.

A Twitter representative told The Post in a statement that pictures and videos of people at major events “generally would not violate this policy.” It is not clear how posts will be checked under the vague dictation that the representative said is intended to protect “women, activists, dissidents and members of minority communities”.

On Wednesday, Tesla boss Elon Musk said tweeted a meme depicting Agrawal as Josef Stalin – and Dorsey as Nikolai Jeschow, a secret police officer who was executed and cut from a famous photo with the Soviet Prime Minister.

The representative did not comment on whether Musk’s tweet with Agarwal’s image violated the policy – or Agrawal’s plans to speak on the platform in general.

And on Friday, Agrawal restructured the management team according to the securities documents. As part of the move, the company’s current engineering and design directors will be leaving the company, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Little is known about the political views of the mostly behind the scenes software engineer who replaced co-founder Dorsey on Monday. At 37, he is the youngest CEO of any company in the S&P 500.

Agrawal was born in Rajasthan, India and studied computer science at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. He received his PhD from Stanford University and joined Twitter in 2011 to work on advertising technology.

Agrawal will receive a $ 1 million salary, a $ 1.5 million “target” bonus, a “golden parachute” -style severance plan – and $ 12.5 million in Twitter stock received so the securities.

He didn’t mention freedom of expression or politics an introductory email to employees. “The world is watching us even more than before. Many people will have many different opinions about today’s news, ”he wrote.

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