The former Twitter CEO has accused Elon Musk of making one of the website’s top executives a “target of harassment and threats.”
Dick Costolo took to Twitter to respond to a meme posted by Musk featuring Vijaya Gadde.
The Tesla boss seemed to be using Gadde, Twitter’s trusted political and legal chief, to suggest the company had a “left bias.”
Costola, CEO of the tech giant from 2010 to 2015, responded to Musk: “What’s going on? You are making an executive of the company you just bought the target of harassment and threats.”
In a subsequent tweet, the former Twitter boss wrote: “Harassment is not leadership.”
Musk responded: “What are they talking about? I’m just saying that Twitter should be politically neutral.”
what is happening? You are making an executive of the company you just bought the target of harassment and threats.
– dick costol (@dickc) April 27, 2022
He seemed to elaborate on this point, tweeting: “For Twitter to be trusted by the public, it must be politically neutral, which in practice means upsetting the far right and far left alike.”
The company’s current CEO also posted on the platform, apparently in solidarity with the website’s employees who have come under fire from Musk in recent days.
Parag Agrawal said he was proud of “our people” who managed to stay focused despite the “noise”.
“I accepted this job to improve Twitter, course correct where we need it, and strengthen the service,” said the software engineer. “Proud of our people who continue to get the job done with focus and urgency despite the noise.”
Musk’s personal use of the platform is drawing increasing criticism as he continues to use it to publicly question political decisions made by Ms. Gadde, which has seen his account flooded with abuse.
Shortly after, several commenters pointed out that his account had been flooded with hateful and abusive comments.
I took on this job to improve Twitter, course correct where we need it, and strengthen the service. Proud of our people who continue to get the job done with focus and urgency despite the noise.
— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) April 27, 2022
It came just hours after the chairman of the Joint Committee on the Online Safety Bill urged Musk to “clean up” the site.
Gadde, who has worked at Twitter since 2011, is the key executive tasked with overseeing Twitter’s public policy, legal, and trust and safety functions.
Her decision to remove all political advertising and kick former US President Donald Trump off Twitter following the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill made her the target of a large contingent of right-wing critics.
The public spat between the former Twitter CEO and Musk comes after a senior figure at the company said it’s “strange to process” his multibillion-dollar acquisition of the social media platform.
News of the $44bn (€38bn) acquisition this week led some to question the future security of the platform and saw some users threaten to leave.
While Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has praised the decision to allow Musk to take the social media platform privately and move it away from the advertising and Wall Street model, others have raised concerns about future online security. given the Tesla and SpaceX CEO’s belief in absolute freedom. He speaks.
For Twitter to deserve the public’s trust, it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left alike.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 27, 2022
Twitter’s senior director of global public policy, Nick Pickles, said he was “still processing” what had happened.
In a laugh-provoking comment during a conversation event at Jesus College, Cambridge on Wednesday, he recounted how he had been away from work for the holidays earlier in the week when the news broke.
He said: “It was weird because I got on the tube on Tuesday and every cover had a picture of the bird (the Twitter symbol), a picture of, you know, some kind of Elon and it’s, I don’t know, it’s weird to process.” .
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He said the conversation and reaction to the move reminded him that “it’s an incredible privilege to work in a service that has a bigger impact on the world.”
He added: “Obviously I’m also processing, more or less, what happened.
“So I’m just grateful to work at a company that’s so relevant, I guess.”
Asked if it’s a good idea for Twitter to be owned by one person, Pickles said “the service is what matters.”
He said: “There are absolute advantages to not being a publicly traded company, particularly for a service like ours that is under political pressure around the world, that is under pressure to intervene in the way people connect.” .
He added: “To me, it’s like the service is what matters, and I think naturally there’s a lot of hypotheses this week, there’s a lot of people pontificating and speculating about what could happen. Concentrate on the service, that’s what’s really important.”
When it comes to controversial figures like Trump and Katie Hopkins being allowed back on Twitter after being banned, Pickles said the issue of people getting accounts back has not yet been “solved.”
He said: “What is the return trip for any account? It’s something I think the industry in general hasn’t figured out.”
He said the problem was the “digital equivalent” of people being in jail for things that are now legal.
He added, “I think it’s not really about a single account. It’s about how to solve that broader problem of permanently removing people’s access to services, which is generally a bad outcome. So I think the question is, what is the solution to that? And I think we’re a long way from solving it.”