The topline

Shortly after he was named Twitter’s new CEO, Parag Agrawal drew criticism from conservatives Monday as old social media posts and interviews led some to question how Agarwal will handle censorship, especially of far-right sources, on the social media platform.

The Key Facts

Agrawal tweeted in 2010, “’If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists.’”

This was a quote from “The Daily Show” correspondent Aasif Mandvi, Agrawal saidAt the moment.

Agrawal was mentioned by some conservative commentators. MIT Technology Review in 2020 that Twitter, like other private companies, isn’t “bound by the First Amendment,” leading some conservative commentators to speculate that Twitter’s “censorship” of right-wing sources will worsen.

Twitter is yet to respond SME’ request for comment.

The Key Background

Jack Dorsey (the founder of Twitter) announced that he will be leaving his position as long-serving CEO Monday morning. Agrawal will take over the role immediately. Agrawal, who has served as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) since 2017, has been with the company since 2011. Though he will need to answer investors’ questions about Twitter’s plans to jumpstart user growth and revenue, perhaps Agrawal’s biggest role will be how he navigates issues of censorship, especially controversial public figures. Dorsey received criticism from both the left and the right over Twitter’s decision to permanently ban former President Donald Trump’s account in January for his role in inciting the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Many on the left felt Dorsey should have acted earlier to prevent the spread of misinformation and harmful materials, while others felt Twitter’s ban was setting a dangerous precedent for silencing opposing political views.

Chief Critic

Jason Miller, Chief Executive Officer of conservative social networking platform GETTR tweeted Monday that Agrawal may be a bigger threat to “free speech” than his predecessor, which is a high bar in Miller’s view, considering he said in a Monday statement Dorsey dedicated his tenure as CEO to finding “new ways to trample freedom of speech.”

Additional Reading

What To Know About Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s New CEO (SME)

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Steps Down: ‘Finally Time For Me To Leave’ (SME)

Trump tweet ban raises questions about the “unchecked” power of big tech (ABC News).

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