SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Following an ongoing trend of employees leaving their jobs this year during the Great Resignation, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made a surprise announcement about his own resignation.
On Monday, Dorsey tweeted a bittersweet email to Twitter’s team and announced he was resigning immediately and that his replacement would be the company’s 37-year-old chief technology officer Parag Agrawal.
This insinuates only white people are capable of racism which that in itself is racist.— Melissa Tate (@TheRightMelissa) November 29, 2021
Racism is a sin like jealousy. It would be racist for me to single out one racial group as exclusively capable of jealousy
In the tweet, Dorsey said after almost 16 years with the company it was “finally time” to leave:
“There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being ‘founder-led.’ Ultimately I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure.
“I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders. There are 3 reasons I believe now is the right time.”
not sure anyone has heard but,— jack⚡️ (@jack) November 29, 2021
I resigned from Twitter pic.twitter.com/G5tUkSSxkl
Dorsey praised Twitter’s new CEO:
“The board ran a rigorous process considering all options and unanimously appointed Parag. He’s been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs.
“Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around.
“He’s curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware, and humble. He leads with heart and soul, and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone deep.”
Dorsey said a second reason why he was leaving was because Bret Taylor agreed to become Twitter’s board chair:
“I asked Bret to join our board when I became CEO, and he’s been excellent in every way.
“He understands entrepreneurship, taking risks, companies at massive scale, technology, product, and he’s an engineer. All of the things the board and the company deserve right now.
“Having Bret in this leadership role gives me a lot of confidence in the strength of our board going forward. You have no idea how happy this makes me!”
For a third reason, Dorsey mentioned Twitter’s staff members:
“We have a lot of ambition and potential on this team.
“Consider this: Parag started here as an engineer who cared deeply about our work and now he’s our CEO (I also had a similar path…he did it better!). This alone makes me proud.
“I know that Parag will be able to channel this energy best because he’s lived it and knows what it takes.
“All of you have the potential to change the course of this company for the better. I believe this with all my heart!”
Dorsey said he would serve on the board until May to help both Agrawal and Taylor during the transition. He also confirmed the decision to resign was his own:
“It was a tough one for me, of course. I love this service and company…and all of you so much. I’m really sad……yet really happy.
“There aren’t many companies that get to this level. And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego. I know we’ll prove this was the right move.”
Congratulations to our alumnus Dr. Parag Agrawal for being appointed the new CEO of Twitter. Dr. Agrawal obtained his https://t.co/KI2VMHsUbi. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Bombay in 2005. He started working at Twitter in 2011 & became the CTO in 2017.#iitb pic.twitter.com/A0yt37pfUR— IIT Bombay (@iitbombay) November 30, 2021
However, some users of Twitter are expressing concerns about Agrawal taking the helm. They cite one of Agrawal’s tweets from 2010 that appears divisive.
Agrawal tweeted a statement that was placed within quote marks, but it was not clear who he was allegedly quoting:
“If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists.”
The implication is that his tweet, which was clearly lacking context, was suggesting there is no discernible difference between racists and white people.
I want to know why he added quotation marks? Is he quoting someone?— Write Girl Problems (@WriteGrlProbs) November 29, 2021
National File 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.”
Gab CEO Andrew Torba suggested Agrawal’s tweet was evidence of the new Twitter CEO’s racism.
In a post on Gab, Torba reposted Agrawal’s tweet and commented:
“Twitter’s new CEO is anti-White.”
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Someone created a racist “Twitter Space” conversation titled “why do white people exist?”— Suburban Black Man 🇺🇸 (@goodblackdude) November 29, 2021
I listened in so you don’t have to.
Needless to say, I’ve NEVER, in all my years, heard such blatant and proud racism so clearly before.
3,000+ people spending Monday being RACIST! pic.twitter.com/dwlbstYAY8
In addition, Agrawal’s comments during a past interview gave some an impression that he may implement more censorship on Twitter.
Agrawal, who joined Twitter in 2011, reportedly supports policies that include censorship of tweets and account holders.
Twitter may have a new CEO but the level of censorship and information control to protect the powerful is about to get a lot worse.— Patrick Witt (@patrickjwitt) November 30, 2021
No more talk. All Republicans must get on board and commit to addressing the existential threat of Big Tech. https://t.co/CsaBYewoAn
According to Breitbart, close observers and even former employees of Twitter indicated the censorship originated not so much with Dorsey, but from within the “trust and safety” department:
“The ‘trust and safety’ department became increasingly influential as the media pushed for more social media censorship of conservatives.
“In 2020, Politico ran a gushing profile of trust and safety global lead Vijaya Gadde, portraying her as the driving force behind the policies that censored Donald Trump.
“Agrawal appears to have similar priorities. In an interview with the MIT Technology Review last year, while he was CTO of the company, Agrawal said free speech was no longer a focus for the company.”
The new head of censorship at Twitter.— CRY HARDER (bullbitcoin.com) (@francispouliot_) November 30, 2021
Whose photo I am not allowed to share as per new Twitter censorship rules 😂 pic.twitter.com/QMC851CsLp
At the conclusion of the interview, Agrawal was asked how he combats misinformation while also protecting free speech as a core value. He replied:
“Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment, but 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.
There is a reason freedom of speech is contained in the First Amendment.— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) November 30, 2021
Big Tech’s censorship threatens our liberty and having a CEO @Twitter that promotes censorship should concern every American.https://t.co/32erYDExLf
“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.”
Deep gratitude for @jack and our entire team, and so much excitement for the future. Here’s the note I sent to the company. Thank you all for your trust and support 💙 https://t.co/eNatG1dqH6 pic.twitter.com/liJmTbpYs1— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) November 29, 2021
Last Monday, Agrawal tweeted his first email as CEO to Twitter’s employees in which he thanked them and Dorsey. He also posted about the importance of the company’s visions:
“Our purpose has never been more important. Our people and culture are unlike anything in the world.
“There is no limit to what we can do together. We recently updated out strategy to hit ambitious goals, and I believe that strategy to be bold and right.
“But our critical challenge is how we work to execute against it and deliver results — that’s how we’ll make Twitter the best it can be for our customers, shareholders, and for each one of you.
“I want you to #LoveWhereYouWork and also love how we work together for the greatest possible impact.”
He ended his tweet by writing:
“The world is watching us right now, even more than they have before.
“Lots of people are going to have lots of different views and opinions about today’s news. It is because they care about Twitter and our future, and it’s a signal that the work we do here matters. Let’s show the world Twitter’s full potential!”
According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Agrawal will receive an annual base salary of $1 million. In addition, he will also be eligible for an annual performance bonus worth as much as 150 percent of his salary, which could yield an additional $2.5 million per year.
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