SAN FRANSISCO: The fate of Twitter’s top attorney, considered the moral champion of the platform, was put in doubt on Wednesday after billionaire Elon Musk tweeted displeasure with the content moderation regime she had implemented.
Musk, the world’s richest man, has vowed to be a free speech absolutist when he takes control of the global micro-blogging platform as part of a $44 billion deal.
The lawyer, Vijaya Gadde, has led efforts to battle bullying and posts that could lead to real-world harm such as the attack on the US Capitol by supporters of former US president Donald Trump.
She was also involved in decisions such as removing political advertising from Twitter, and banning Trump from the platform for instigating the January 6 attack.
Musk on Tuesday criticized Gadde’s role in taking down a New York Post story about the overseas business dealings of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter ahead of the 2020 election.
The billionaire said that banning the story was “incredibly inappropriate” in a tweet responding to another user’s post that included a Politico article detailing how Gadde had cried during a meeting about the Musk takeover.
Musk went on to retweet a meme featuring Gadde and accusing Twitter of having a “left-wing bias”, prompting former Twitter chief Dick Costolo to fire off a reply asking what he was trying to accomplish.
“You’re making an executive at the company you just bought the target of harassment and threats,” Costolo said in the tweeted reply to Musk.
what's going on? You're making an executive at the company you just bought the target of harassment and threats.— dick costolo (@dickc) April 27, 2022
Criticism of Musk’s attack
Katie Harbath, a former public policy director at Meta Platform Inc’s Facebook who now leads the consultancy Anchor Change, said Musk’s criticism of Twitter’s content moderation raises concerns that he could overrule recommendations from the team charged with setting policy and procedure.