Connect with us

OTHER

Twitter Deal: Parag Agrawal’s 11-Month Tenure as Twitter CEO Said to End as Musk Gains Control

Published

on

twitter-deal:-parag-agrawal’s-11-month-tenure-as-twitter-ceo-said-to-end-as-musk-gains-control

When Parag Agrawal was appointed CEO of Twitter in November 2021, the IIT graduate joined a steadily growing club of executives from India rising to the top of global corporations, but the 38-year-old executive’s brief tenure at the helm of the social media giant was challenging and chaotic. Less than a year into his job as CEO, India-born Agrawal was ousted from the company by its new owner billionaire Elon Musk who on Thursday closed the $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,37,465 crore) deal to acquire the social media behemoth.

An IIT Bombay and Stanford alumnus, Agrawal joined Twitter in 2011 when there were fewer than 1,000 employees. Rising in the company, he became Twitter’s chief technology officer in 2017. Considered a protege of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Agrawal was appointed CEO of Twitter after Dorsey stepped down.

In announcing his decision to step down and name Agrawal as CEO, Dorsey had said at the time “my trust in him as our CEO is bone deep.” Dorsey had said that Agrawal had been his choice for CEO for “some time” given how deeply he understands the company and its needs. “Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He’s curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware, and humble. He leads with heart and soul, and is someone I learn from daily.” Ajmer-born Agrawal’s ascent to the top job at Twitter put him in a steadily growing club of executives hailing from India helming global corporations, including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen. Indra Nooyi had served as PepsiCo’s CEO for 12 years before stepping down in 2018.

See also  YouTube Channels Blocked in India Monetised Fake News; Spread Nuclear Fear, Communal Hatred, Officials Say

According to a May 2022 report in The New York Times, if Musk removed him as chief executive, Agrawal could make $60 million (roughly Rs. 495 crore), as per securities filings.

Agrawal’s time as Twitter CEO was challenging and turbulent.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Just a few months into the job as CEO, Musk came into the picture. As per a CNN Business report citing a regulatory filing in March this year, Musk had met with Dorsey to “discuss the future direction of social media.”

“In the days that followed, Musk met with Twitter’s board and some of its leadership team, including Agrawal; publicly announced that he’d become Twitter’s largest shareholder; and accepted a seat on the company’s board,” the CNN report said.

Musk tweeted a few days later that “Is Twitter dying?”.

The CNN report added that according to a court filing in late September, Agrawal had texted Musk responding to his tweet.

“You are free to tweet ‘is Twitter dying?’ or anything else about Twitter,” Agrawal had said in the text to Musk “but it’s my responsibility to tell you that it’s not helping me make Twitter better in the current context. Next time we speak, I’d like you to provide (your) perspective on the level of internal distraction right now and how [it’s] hurting our ability to do work … I’d like the company to get to a place where we are more resilient and don’t get distracted, but we aren’t there right now.” Musk had responded to Agrawal saying: “What did you get done this week?” In two follow-up texts, he rescinded his agreement to join the board, saying, “I’m not joining the board. This is a waste of time.” He added: “Will make an offer to take Twitter private,” according to the CNN article.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

On Agrawal’s challenges to manage a “restive work force and deal with Twitter’s mounting economic” woes before likely being “booted” from the company, The New York Times had quoted Bob Sutton, an organisational psychologist and professor at Stanford University, as saying that “there’s no one in the world who would want to be in those shoes.” The NYT article said that as Twitter’s chief technology officer, Agrawal “worked on some of Twitter’s complicated technical challenges and built relationships with his engineering peers” and Dorsey.

See also  Facebook Threatens to Block News Content in Canada Over Upcoming Compulsory Revenue-Sharing Bill

He shared Dorsey’s “vision that Twitter’s future hinged on overhauling its technology so it could rely more on machine learning and decentralize its services to give users more control over their experiences on the platform.” As the Musk saga unfolded, the NYT said in the May 2022 article that at “a virtual meeting for Twitter executives”, Agrawal “admitted he was exhausted.” “At the meeting, Mr Agrawal was “raw” about Twitter’s issues and the hurricane of attention over Mr Musk’s deal, two people with knowledge of the event said. But he also conveyed a sense of acceptance of his situation and said he would move forward with his plans for the company, they said,” the NYT report stated.

When he was appointed CEO in 2021, Agrawal said in a note posted on Twitter that he was “honoured and humbled” on his appointment and expressed gratitude to Dorsey’s “continued mentorship and your friendship.” “While it was a decade ago, those days feel like yesterday to me. I’ve walked in your shoes, I’ve seen the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the wins and the mistakes. But then and now, above all else, I see Twitter’s incredible impact, our continued progress, and the exciting opportunities ahead of us,” he said.

“Our purpose has never been more important. Our people and our culture are unlike anything in the world. There is no limit to what we can do together.” “We recently updated our strategy to hit ambitious goals, and I believe that strategy to be bold and right. But our critical challenge is how we work to execute against it and deliver results – that’s how we’ll make Twitter the best it can be for our customers, shareholders, and for each of you.” “The world is watching us right now, even more than they have before. Lots of people are going to have lots of different views and opinions about today’s news. It is because they care about Twitter and our future, and it’s a signal that the work we do here matters,” Agrawal said in his note last year.

See also  Google, Twitter, Meta Agree to Adopt Strict Measures Against Spam Bots to Follow EU’s New Code of Conduct

Apple launched the iPad Pro (2022) and the iPad (2022) alongside the new Apple TV this week. We discuss the company’s latest products, along with our review of the iPhone 14 Pro on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

OTHER

Twitter Not Safer Under Elon Musk Leadership, Says Former Head of Trust and Safety

Published

on

By

twitter-not-safer-under-elon-musk-leadership,-says-former-head-of-trust-and-safety

Twitter’s former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth on Tuesday said the social media company was not safer under new owner Elon Musk, warning in his first interview since resigning this month that the company no longer had enough staff for safety work.

Roth had tweeted after Musk’s takeover that by some measures, Twitter safety had improved under the billionaire’s ownership.

Asked in an interview at the Knight Foundation conference on Tuesday whether he still felt that way, Roth said: “No.”

Roth was a Twitter veteran who helped steer the social media platform through several watershed decisions, including the move to permanently suspend its most famous user, former US President Donald Trump, last year.

His departure further rattled advertisers, many of whom backed away from Twitter after Musk laid off half of the staff, including many involved with content moderation.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Before Musk assumed the helm at Twitter, about 2,200 people globally were focused on content moderation work, said Roth. He said he did not know the number after the acquisition because the corporate directory had been turned off.

Twitter under Musk began to stray from its adherence to written and publicly available policies toward content decisions made unilaterally by Musk, which Roth cited as a reason for his resignation.

“One of my limits was if Twitter starts being ruled by dictatorial edict rather than by policy … there’s no longer a need for me in my role, doing what I do,” he said.

The revamp of the Twitter Blue premium subscription, which would allow users to pay for a verified checkmark on their account, launched despite warnings and advice from the trust and safety team, Roth said.

See also  Metaverse Could Accelerate Manufacturing, Social Ills: How Boeing, Tinder Are Approaching Virtual Reality

The launch was quickly beset by spammers impersonating major public companies such as Eli Lilly, Nestle and Lockheed Martin.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Roth also said Tuesday that Twitter erred in restricting the dissemination of a New York Post article that made claims about then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son shortly before the 2020 presidential election.

But he defended Twitter’s decision to permanently suspend Trump for risk of further incitement of violence after the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

“We saw the clearest possible example of what it looked like for things to move from online to off,” Roth said. “We saw people dead in the Capitol.”

Musk tweeted on November 19 that Trump’s account would be reinstated after a slim majority voted in favour of the move in a surprise Twitter poll.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

Continue Reading

OTHER

WhatsApp Update Allows Users to Include Caption While Forwarding Media on iOS: All Details

Published

on

By

whatsapp-update-allows-users-to-include-caption-while-forwarding-media-on-ios:-all-details

WhatsApp has begun rolling out a feature that will let iOS users forward media with captions. Previously, users had to send a caption as a separate message, when forwarding media. Now when iPhone owners using WhatsApp forward media, the app will include original caption, which can be manually removed. The feature is available in the latest version of the app on the App Store, as per details shared by a feature tracker.

According to a report by feature tracker WABetaInfo, WhatsApp users on iOS will be able to forward images, videos, GIFs, and documents, along with the original caption. The report includes a screengrab of the improved forwarding process, explaining that users will see a new view at the bottom of the screen when users select a media to forward, which can be tapped to add a caption.

whatsapp forwarded media caption wabetainfo whatsapp  media forwarding

A WhatsApp screenshot showing the included media caption when forwarding a message

Photo Credit: WABetaInfo

Additionally, WhatsApp has also added a dismiss button that you can use to remove the caption from the image before forwarding the message, which could come in handy if you don’t want to include the original caption. It is worth noting that the captions shared with the forwarded media files will always be end-to-end encrypted.

The Meta-owned service continues to improve its messaging app with new features and updates. Recently, WhatsApp introduced a new feature called “Message Yourself” that allows users on iOS and Android to send messages to themselves, or forward messages to themselves. The feature is designed to help users store messages, files, and other media in an easily accessible location, and users can also forward messages from other chats, or share content from other apps directly to WhatsApp.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Meanwhile, WhatsApp is reportedly working on a feature that will let Android users export and import their chat backups offline from Google Drive. The feature is said to provide access to the full chat history, images, videos, and other media files. The feature was first spotted in development back in June, but the company is yet to announce plans to roll out the feature on Android or iOS devices. 

See also  Meta's Quest 2 VR Headset Update to Add Ability to Socialise in Horizon World, Says Mark Zuckerberg

Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

Continue Reading

OTHER

Twitter Stops Enforcing COVID-19 Misinformation Policy, Experts Express Concerns Over False Claims

Published

on

By

twitter-stops-enforcing-covid-19-misinformation-policy,-experts-express-concerns-over-false-claims

Twitter will no longer enforce its policy against COVID-19 misinformation, raising concerns among public health experts and social media researchers that the change could have serious consequences if it discourages vaccination and other efforts to combat the still-spreading virus.

Eagle-eyed users spotted the change Monday night, noting that a one-sentence update had been made to Twitter’s online rules: “Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy.”

By Tuesday, some Twitter accounts were testing the new boundaries and celebrating the platform’s hands-off approach, which comes after Twitter was purchased by Elon Musk.

“This policy was used to silence people across the world who questioned the media narrative surrounding the virus and treatment options,” tweeted Dr. Simone Gold, a physician and leading purveyor of COVID-19 misinformation. “A win for free speech and medical freedom!”

Twitter’s decision to no longer remove false claims about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines disappointed public health officials, however, who said it could lead to more false claims about the virus, or the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

“Bad news,” tweeted epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, who urged people not to flee Twitter but to keep up the fight against bad information about the virus. “Stay folks — do NOT cede the town square to them!”

While Twitter’s efforts to stop false claims about COVID weren’t perfect, the company’s decision to reverse course is an abdication of its duty to its users, said Paul Russo, a social media researcher and dean of the Katz School of Science and Health at Yeshiva University in New York.

See also  Google, Twitter, Meta Agree to Adopt Strict Measures Against Spam Bots to Follow EU’s New Code of Conduct

Russo added that it’s the latest of several recent moves by Twitter that could ultimately scare away some users and even advertisers. Some big names in business have already paused their ads on Twitter over questions about its direction under Musk.

“It is 100% the responsibility of the platform to protect its users from harmful content,” Russo said. “This is absolutely unacceptable.”

The virus, meanwhile, continues to spread. Nationally, new COVID cases averaged nearly 38,800 a day as of Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University — far lower than last winter but a vast undercount because of reduced testing and reporting. About 28,100 people with COVID were hospitalized daily and about 313 died, according to the most recent federal daily averages.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Cases and deaths were up from two weeks earlier. Yet a fifth of the U.S. population hasn’t been vaccinated, most Americans haven’t gotten the latest boosters, and many have stopped wearing masks.

Musk, who has himself spread COVID misinformation on Twitter, has signalled an interest in rolling back many of the platform’s previous rules meant to combat misinformation.

Last week, Musk said he would grant “amnesty” to account holders who had been kicked off Twitter. He’s also reinstated the accounts for several people who spread COVID misinformation, including that of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose personal account was suspended this year for repeatedly violating Twitter’s COVID rules.

Greene’s most recent tweets include ones questioning the effectiveness of masks and making baseless claims about the safety of COVID vaccines.

Since the pandemic began, platforms like Twitter and Facebook have struggled to respond to a torrent of misinformation about the virus, its origins and the response to it.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Under the policy enacted in January 2020, Twitter prohibited false claims about COVID-19 that the platform determined could lead to real-world harms. More than 11,000 accounts were suspended for violating the rules, and nearly 100,000 pieces of content were removed from the platform, according to Twitter’s latest numbers.

See also  Facebook-Owner Meta Agrees to Comply With Strict Rules Imposed by German Regulator

Despite its rules prohibiting COVID misinformation, Twitter has struggled with enforcement. Posts making bogus claims about home remedies or vaccines could still be found, and it was difficult on Tuesday to identify exactly how the platform’s rules may have changed.

Messages left with San Francisco-based Twitter seeking more information about its policy on COVID-19 misinformation were not immediately returned Tuesday.

A search for common terms associated with COVID misinformation on Tuesday yielded lots of misleading content, but also automatic links to helpful resources about the virus as well as authoritative sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 coordinator, said Tuesday that the problem of COVID-19 misinformation is far larger than one platform, and that policies prohibiting COVID misinformation weren’t the best solution anyway.

Advertisement
free widgets for website

Speaking at a Knight Foundation forum Tuesday, Jha said misinformation about the virus spread for a number of reasons, including legitimate uncertainty about a deadly illness. Simply prohibiting certain kinds of content isn’t going to help people find good information, or make them feel more confident about what they’re hearing from their medical providers, he said.

“I think we all have a collective responsibility,” Jha said of combating misinformation about COVID. “The consequences of not getting this right — of spreading that misinformation — is literally tens of thousands of people dying unnecessarily.”


Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.

Continue Reading

Trending