The fine citizens of Twitterville rushed to post racists tweets following comments made by the potential owner
Photo: Twitter lawyer Vijaya Gadde
28 April 2022 | Windobi
Elon Musk responded to a tweet that described Vijaya Gadde as “the biggest advocate of censorship on Twitter”.
Elon Musk’s criticism of a substantive decision by Twitter Inc.’s legal team was followed by a spate of insulting tweets directed against the company’s top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde.
Musk, who has 86.4 million followers on Twitter and signed a deal to buy the company for $44 billion, often uses the site as a way to criticize Twitter’s decisions, especially when it comes to banning accounts. of people breaking the platform’s rules, some of whom Musk sees as unfairly sidelined.
On Tuesday, he blamed a decision the company made in 2020 to block a New York Post story about Hunter Biden. He called the move “incredibly inappropriate.”
Though he didn’t mention Gadde by name, the post was in response to an article that featured her prominently.
Musk responded to a tweet from Saagar Enjeti, host of a political podcast, who in turn referenced a report from Politico that Gadde burst into tears during a meeting with her staff this week.
“Vijaya Gadde, the leading censorship advocate on Twitter who made the world famous on Joe Rogan’s podcast and censored the Hunter Biden laptop story, is very angry about the @elonmusk takeover,” Enjeti tweeted.
The Post story to which Enjeti references claimed that Biden, the son of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden, had improper connections with a director of a Ukrainian energy company.
Twitter later reversed the move, but not before it was accused of censoring information that could have harmed a Democratic candidate.
Musk’s comment was followed by a barrage of negative comments from Twitter users.
Some used expletives or racist insults referring to Gadde’s Indian heritage, including words like “curry” and references to the Indian caste system.
Others used expletives or derogatory language, blaming her for “destroying countless @Twitter accounts for telling the truth”.
Some called for her to be fired or suggested she leave alone. Some of the abusive tweets were later removed for violating the Twitter rules.
On Wednesday, Musk posted an additional tweet featuring a meme about Twitter’s “left-wing bias”.
It featured Gadde’s face and was reprimanded by former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, who asked why Musk “made a director at the company you just bought the target of intimidation and threats.”
Twitter, based in San Francisco, declined to comment.
Musk has often said that his goal is to make the social media platform a bastion of free speech.
“By ‘freedom of speech’ I just mean what conforms to the law,” he said in a tweet on Tuesday. “I am against censorship that goes way beyond the law.”
In some cases, his comments ignited his sizable fan base to publicly mock people he has criticized, from a local health official at the start of the pandemic to current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal.
Some of the racist comments that followed his tweet on Tuesday also linked Agrawal, who is also of Indian descent.
Musk has also taken photos at Agrawal and last year posted a meme in which he superimposed his face on that of Russian dictator Joseph Stalin.
The edited image showed Agrawal, former chief technology officer of Twitter, purging co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey, just as Stalin did with Nikolai Yezhov, the chief of the Soviet secret police.
Some users publicly urged Dorsey to take responsibility for the decisions made during his tenure, as Gadde reported to him, or at least defended her work.
But he was silent even when other employees, including former CEO Ev Williams, agreed to defend her.
Musk’s comments about the legal decision coincided with a securities filing Tuesday detailing the Twitter transaction, including a section on “public announcements” that limited what Musk can tweet. He is still allowed to discuss the deal on Twitter, but not in contemptuous terms, the filing shows.
“The equity investor is permitted to post tweets regarding the merger or the transactions contemplated hereby, so long as such tweets do not disparage the company or any of its representatives,” the filing said. It’s unclear whether his reference to Gadde would violate those terms or what would happen to Musk if he did.
John C. Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, said Twitter is unlikely to jeopardize the deal by inviting Musk to the tweets.
“Even if Musk violated the anti-disparagement clause, Twitter would cancel a deal that is likely to be too expensive,” he said.
And it’s hard to know what Twitter would get from such a move, Coffee said. “If you were to say that he violated the anti-discrimination clause, there is no natural punishment to match.”
In taking over Twitter, Musk has pledged to make it a platform for free speech with few restrictions, a move he says is “essential to a functioning democracy.”
Musk defined the goal for Twitter earlier this month at a TED event, saying, “A good sign of free speech is: Can someone you don’t like say something you don’t like? , then we have freedom of speech.”
But those who have said things Musk didn’t like have seen their reputations destroyed in public. Vernon Unsworth, a British caver who helped rescue 12 boys trapped in Thailand, called Musk’s efforts to help a “PR stunt” in 2018. Musk retaliated by calling him a “pedo man.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)