Elon Musk, who earlier this week bought Twitter for $44 billion, has criticized some of the past actions of the social media giant – and so he’s coming in for a clean sweep. Among those directly in the line of fire are censors, with Musk’s free speech absolutism seen as the driving force behind his takeover of the company. Twitter’s chief lawyer, who is seen as leading the microblogging site’s censorship of conservatives, is seen by many as first on the block – but not only for her policies.
Before the purchase, Vijaya Gadde received a roughly 130 percent pay raise in 2021, Bloomberg reported. Her total compensation in 2021 was almost $17 million — up from about $7.3 million in 2020. A recent article surfaced that claimed that Gadde broke down in tears during a staff meeting about the impending takeover.
If fired, however, Gadde stands to win a hefty severance package worth $12.5 million that includes the accelerated vesting of a trove of Twitter shares she has accrued. Gadde – who has been referred to as a ‘woke tyrant’ and a ‘censorship chief’ by many websites and social media commentators was also hit at by Musk online.
The Tesla tycoon tweeted a meme featuring Gadde and conservative journalist Tim Pool in a loop regarding left-wing bias and censorship. Many worry that Twitter’s efforts to deal with harassment, misogyny and misinformation might take a backward step under Musk.
“Musk’s pursuit of his normal daily activities on Twitter exacerbate the worst aspects of the site and undercut the good work that folks at Twitter have been doing,” said Adam Conner, vice president for technology policy at the Center for American Progress. While Musk’s activity on Twitter is attracting new scrutiny because of his deal on Monday to acquire the company, the world’s richest person is no stranger to controversy and criticism on the platform.
Last October, Musk criticized Missy Cummings, a Duke University professor who was hired by the US vehicle safety regulator as an adviser, in a tweet that was followed by personal attacks online on Cummings. A longtime critic of Tesla’s driver assistant software, Cummings subsequently deleted her Twitter account. In 2018, Musk called a British diver “a pedo guy” after he downplayed Musk’s idea of using SpaceX’s mini-submarine to rescue a boys’ soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand.
“If he proves incapable of tamping down the polarization, Twitter will slowly start to become less relevant because certain types of conversations will no longer be able to take place on it,” said David A. Kirsch, an associate professor of management and entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland.
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