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Twitter’s top lawyer ‘cried’ during team meeting over Elon Musk deal

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·3-min read
Twitter’s top lawyer ‘cried’ during team meeting over Elon Musk deal
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Twitter’s top lawyer Vijaya Gadde reportedly got emotional and cried at a company-level staff meeting discussing Tesla chief Elon Musk’s acquisition of the social media platform.

Ms Gadde, Twitter‘s head of legal, policy and trust, is a key executive in the company who was behind decisions such as the banning of political advertising, and the removal of former US president Donald Trump from the platform in the aftermath of the 6 January Capitol riots.

At a recent company-level meeting, Ms Gadde reportedly cried while expressing her concerns about how Twitter could change, Politico reported, citing “three people familiar with the meeting”.

Following news of Ms Gadde’s emotional moment, the Tesla chief targetted the Twitter lawyer over censoring The New York Post’s article related to US president Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s laptop.

“Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organisation for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate,” Mr Musk said, referring to the lawyer’s move in the run-up to the 2020 US presidential elections.

While Twitter has sought to be a platform where hate speech and harmful content are censored, Mr Musk suggested the platform should only remove content if it is required by law.

“By ‘free speech’, I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law. If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people,” the billionaire tweeted on Wednesday.

Twitter’s current chief Parag Agrawal also shared concerns during a recent company-level meeting, adding that he does not “know which direction the platform will go” after the acquisition.

“There is indeed uncertainty about what will happen after the deal closes,” Mr Agrawal told staff according to The Verge.

He also said the question of whether former president Donald Trump would return to the platform would be a question better directed to Mr Musk.

“We don’t have all the answers. This is a period of uncertainty,” he said, according to Business Insider.

With the Tesla titan brandishing free speech as the “bedrock of a functioning democracy”, and calling Twitter the “digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated”, some human rights experts have expressed concerns that hate speech and misinformation on the apps could surge under the ownership of Musk.

“Mr Musk: free speech is wonderful, hate speech is unacceptable. Disinformation, misinformation and hate speech have NO PLACE on Twitter,” US civil rights advocacy group, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a statement.

At the recent meeting, Ms Gadde, an executive tasked with handling sensitive issues like harassment and dangerous speech on the platform, reportedly said there are significant uncertainties about the future of the company under Mr Musk’s leadership.

She also reportedly said she was proud of the employees and encouraged them to try and make a positive contribution to Twitter.

The Independent has reached out to Ms Gadde for comment.

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