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The top lawyer on Twitter‘s legal team broke down in tears during a meeting with internal policy department employees as she discussed the potential changes the company will face following its full acquisition by Elon Musk.
According to a Politico report, Twitter’s chief legal officer and general counsel Vijaya Gadde could not hold back tears as she expressed to the rest of the team her concerns about how the platform will be handled now that it is owned by the head of Tesla and SpaceX.
Politico’s sources indicated that Gadde, who reportedly played a leading role during negotiations with Musk, spoke at length about how proud she is of the changes the team has made to the rules designed to regulate users’ free speech, ban political advertising, and prevent hate speech and disinformation.
Gadde has been at the forefront of politically charged decisions that have caused the most controversy among users, such as permanently suspending former President Donald Trump’s account following the Jan. 6 riots.
One Twitter employee told Politico that everyone at the company is feeling “emotional and reflective” about Musk’s arrival. “We’ve gone through a lot in the past two years and I think it’s generally instigated a lot of reflection. I think this was more of an acknowledgment of the uncertainty everyone is feeling right now.”
Ideological norms and selective censorship on Twitter
Gadde’s concern may go beyond Musk’s purchase and relate to her responsibility for content moderation. Twitter’s “censorship advocate” was invited to discuss her policies on an episode of the hit podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, alongside the social network’s former CEO, Jack Dorsey, and was confronted by journalist and political commentator, Tim Pool, about censorship against conservatives and “ideologically biased policies.”
Pool accused Gadde of left-wing bias in imposing regulations and questioned her about Twitter’s ongoing censorship of feminist activist Meghan Murphy, who was suspended from the platform in 2018 for referring to a transgender woman using male pronouns during a tweet exchange.
“You’re having an individual who was debating a high-profile individual in her community, and she’s expressing her ideology versus hers, and you have opted to ban one of those ideologies,” Pool told the lawyer.
Gadde’s response — so to speak — was that rules are rules, and referring to a transgender person by pronouns other than their preferred ones in a specific context is harassment and against company policy.
“I understand why people would not agree with the rule but, that being said, it is a rule on our platform,” Gadde responded to Pool. “And once you’re warned about the rule, to repeat the same content is also going to be a violation of our rules.”
Joe Rogan, the show’s host, responded, “This rule seems like a good example of an ideologically based rule.”
In addition to the Trump suppression and pro-gender ideology rules, Gadde was behind the blocking of the New York Post article revealing the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop, which was labeled “Russian misinformation” by the liberal media and led to the eventual temporary suspension of the Post’s Twitter account.
Journalist and author Saagar Enjeti cited Politico’s report on Gadde’s cry and noted, “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.”
Elon Musk offered his opinion, short and to the point: “Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate.”
It is unclear whether Gadde will have to face her responsibility for the censorship allegations against the platform when the billionaire takes action regarding ideological bias. What is certain is that Musk’s arrival has tiptoed Twitter employees, caused a stampede of left-wing influencers and even angered European authorities.