New Twitter CEO Once Had A Troubling Take on the First Amendment

Jack Dorsey, who has a net worth of nearly $12 billion, is stepping down as CEO of Twitter. He’ll be replaced by Parag Agrawal.

Agrawal has immediately come under fire for past remarks that many people find alarming. For example, he once publicly claimed that Twitter is “not to be bound by the First Amendment.”

In 2010, Agrawal suggested that there should be no need to “distinguish between white people and racists.”

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

It was later revealed that Agrawal was quoting a comedian named Asif Mandvi from “The Daily Show,” but it still raises serious questions about Agrawal’s views.

In a post on Instagram, Donald Trump Jr. also noted that Agrawal holds radical views.

“Twitter’s new CEO folks,” Trump Jr. wrote, adding “no bias there at all.”

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Agrawal has been serving as Twitter’s chief technology officer, but he’s been thrown into the spotlight after the company board unanimously appointed him to replace Dorsey as CEO.

Dorsey backed the decision, saying, “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,” Dorsey added.

“I’m honored and humbled,” Agrawal said in response.

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Agrawal now oversees a company that is infamous for helping cancel culture ruin careers of public figures who sent pre-fame tweets that were not simply the quote of a comedian.

“It’s just wild that Twitter didn’t wipe or at lest [sic] spotcheck its new CEO’s past tweets considering how often old (and usually contextless) tweets get resurfaced on here to derail someone recently thrust into a position of power or fame,” New York Times tech reporter Ryan Mac observed.

Reason senior editor Robby Soave wrote the Mandvi was harmless, but “something Agrawal said just one year ago … is actually concerning” before sharing an Agrawal quote.

“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,” Agrawal said in 2020 during an interview with Technology Review’s Editor-in-Chief Gideon Lichfield. “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.”

Agrawal joined Twitter in 2011 and has been the company’s CTO since 2017. In that role, he led Twitter’s technical strategy and improved “development velocity while advancing the state of Machine Learning across the company,” the company said. He was previously Twitter’s first Distinguished Engineer and has been celebrated by the company for work across both across revenue and consumer engineering.