Jack Hadfield, National File, 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.
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.
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.