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Twitter censorship lawyer Vijaya Gadde cried during a team meet over Elon Musk takeover. His response

Elon Musk tweeted: “Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate.”

April 27, 2022 / 10:50 AM IST
Vijaya Gadde and Elon Musk differ on their stands about free speech on Twitter.

Vijaya Gadde and Elon Musk differ on their stands about free speech on Twitter.

Stung by tech tycoon Elon Musk’ takeover of Twitter, the social media giant’s top lawyer Vijaya Gadde reportedly had an emotional moment during a meeting with the legal and policy teams she oversees. As the news of her sobbing at the meeting was confirmed, Gadde’s new boss Musk targeted the lawyer over censoring exclusive stories related to US President Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s laptop.

“Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate,” Musk wrote slamming the Indian-origin lawyer’s key move in the run up to the 2020 US presidential elections where she suspended the account of New York Post over an exclusive article about Hunter Biden’s laptop that has since been verified by many outlets which had initially dismissed the report as misinformation.

Musk, 50, was replying to podcast host Saagar Enjeti who shared a Politico report about Gadde’s reported tearful virtual meeting with her teams after the Tesla CEO, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist”, took over the company’s reins after a $44 billion deal.

Vijaya Gadde, the top censorship advocate at Twitter who famously gaslit the world on Joe Rogan's podcast and censored the Hunter Biden laptop story, is very upset about the Elon Musk takeover,” Enjeti tweeted.

Gadde, 48, has been at Twitter since 2011 and handles safety, legal issues and sensitive matters of the influential company. She has been the trailblazer behind several key decisions of the company including the suspension of former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account in the wake of the Capitol Hill violence – a move that earned her fans and critics alike. She was also behind the major decision of scrapping all political advertising from the platform.

With Musk at the helm now, Gadde was uncertain about what the company will look like, Politico reported the lawyer as saying at the meeting with employees. She however encouraged everyone to do good work at the company and added she took pride in the work they have done so far.

The major reason about the apprehensions over Musk’s takeover is no secret. The world’s richest man has advocated long for free speech on Twitter and has asked that the website’s algorithm be open-source. He wants to remove all spam bots from the platform and most importantly bring elaborate changes to the content moderation policies of the website.

Twitter has for years advocated that the microblogging site be hate-speech free and threatening content has often been censored. Axing accounts of even key figures like that of Donald Trump, who had 89 million followers, was also on the table if the policies were violated.

Musk however has suggested several times that Twitter should remove content only if it is required by law that has been fiercely opposed by many who say that hate speech will now be on the rise on the hugely popular site.

Many said they will now be leaving Twitter as Elon Musk takes over as they fear the site without regulations will be a dangerous place prompting the billionaire to explain what he means by “free speech”.

“The extreme antibody reaction from those who fear free speech says it all. By “free speech”, I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law. If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people,” Musk explained in a tweet to his 85.9 million followers and pinned it to his profile.

A day back, he tweeted: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”

It remains to be seen whether Gadde will still hold her position at the company as she and her new boss seem to be at odds when it comes to the key policies about safety and content moderation.

Stella Dey
first published: Apr 27, 2022 09:27 am