Agrawal has faced pushback for saying Twitter’s role is ‘not to be bound by the First Amendment’
Tesla CEO Elon Musk took a jab at Twitter’s new CEO Parag Agrawal on Wednesday, tweeting out a meme depicting the executive as Stalin and his predecessor, Jack Dorsey, as Nikolay Yezhov, a Stalin associate who was assassinated under his direction.
Musk’s tweet comes as Agrawal has faced criticism for a previous comment in which he said the social media giant’s role is “not to be bound by the First Amendment.” In addition, Agrawal previously tweeted: “If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists.” He later issued a follow-up tweet that he was simply quoting comedian Asif Mandvi from “The Daily Show”.
It also comes after former Trump adviser and CEO of conservative social media platform GETTR, Jason Miller, expressed concern that “censorship & political discrimination” would come to Twitter under Agrawal’s direction.
On Monday, Dorsey announced he would resign from the CEO role. The Twitter co-founder served as CEO from 2006 to 2008 and returned to the role in 2015 after former CEO Dick Costolo stepped down.
“There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being ‘founder led’,” Dorsey said in an email to employees shared on Twitter Monday. “Ultimately, I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure. I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders.”
Dorsey explained that Agrawal, Twitter’s former chief technology officer who was unanimously selected by the company’s board of directors, has been his choice for successor for “some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs.” He added that Agrawal “has been behind every critical decision that has turned this company around.”
“I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it. It was a tough one for me, of course. I love this service and company…and all of you so much. I’m really sad…yet really happy.” Dorsey’s email concluded. “There aren’t many companies that get to this level. And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their ego. I know we’ll prove this was the right move.”
Agrawal said in a lengthy statement to employees that he was “honored and humbled” to serve in the role and grateful for Dorsey’s mentorship, friendship and leadership and the Twitter team.
“Our purpose has never been more important. Our people and our culture are unlike anything in the world. There is no limit to what we can do together,” he continued. “We recently updated our strategy to hit ambitious goals, and I believe that strategy to be bold and right. But our critical challenge is how we work to execute it against and deliver results – that’s how we’ll make Twitter the best it can be for our customers, shareholders, and for each of you.”
In addition to leading Twitter, Dorsey is also the CEO of financial payment company Block, formerly known as Square. His split duties at the two companies have previously raised questions about his ability to suitably focus on issues facing Twitter. Last year, billionaire investor Paul Singer’s Elliott Management launched a bid to oust Dorsey from his role. However, Twitter’s board committee overseeing the review later recommended to keep Dorsey in the role.
Though Dorsey is stepping down from the CEO role, he will remain a member of Twitter’s board until his term expires at the 2022 meeting of stockholders.