Shortly after he was named Twitter’s new CEO, Parag Agrawal drew criticism from conservatives Monday as old social media posts and interviews led some to question how Agarwal will handle censorship, especially of far-right sources, on the social media platform.
Agrawal tweeted in 2010, “’If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists.’”
This was a quote from “The Daily Show” correspondent Aasif Mandvi, Agrawal said at the time.
Some conservative commentators also pointed to Agrawal telling MIT Technology Review in 2020 that Twitter, like other private companies, isn’t “bound by the First Amendment,” leading some conservative commentators to speculate that Twitter’s “censorship” of right-wing sources will worsen.
Twitter has not yet responded to Forbes’ request for comment.
Twitter co-founder and longtime CEO Jack Dorsey announced he was stepping down from his role at the company Monday morning and that Agrawal will immediately succeed him as CEO. Agrawal has been at the company since 2011 and served as the Chief Technology Officer since 2017. Though he will need to answer investors’ questions about Twitter’s plans to jumpstart user growth and revenue, perhaps Agrawal’s biggest role will be how he navigates issues of censorship, especially controversial public figures. Dorsey received criticism from both the left and the right over Twitter’s decision to permanently ban former President Donald Trump’s account in January for his role in inciting the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Many on the left felt Dorsey should have acted earlier to prevent the spread of misinformation and harmful materials, while others felt Twitter’s ban was setting a dangerous precedent for silencing opposing political views.
Jason Miller, CEO of conservative social media platform GETTR, tweeted Monday that Agrawal may be a bigger threat to “free speech” than his predecessor, which is a high bar in Miller’s view, considering he said in a Monday statement Dorsey dedicated his tenure as CEO to finding “new ways to trample freedom of speech.”