Twitter’s Pre-Musk Censorship Team Was Stacked With Liberals, Activists

(Photo by Constanza HEVIA / AFP) (Photo by CONSTANZA HEVIA/AFP via Getty Images)

James Lynch Contributor
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Twitter’s team tasked with handling censorship and content-related decisions prior to Elon Musk’s purchase of the company was uniformly left-wing.

Former Head of Legal Policy and Trust Vijaya Gadde has been dubbed the platform’s “chief censor” for playing a “key role” in censoring the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop, according to the “Twitter Files” reviewed by veteran journalist Matt Taibbi.

Gadde played a central role in banning political ads on the platform and banning former President Donald Trump from Twitter, according to Politico and The Free Press. She was described in Politico magazine as being a “liberal-leaning” lawyer whose power at the company rivaled that of founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey. (RELATED: Twitter’s Safety Team Found Trump’s Final Tweets Did Not Violate Policy, But He Was Banned Anyway)

In a 2018 statement, Gadde said, “we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology,” according to The Free Press. The “Twitter files,” however, revealed a blacklisting policy known as “visibility filtering,” reportedly designed to suppress the visibility of certain users.

Gadde reportedly cried during an emotional internal meeting about how the company would change under Elon Musk’s leadership, according to Politico. Musk immediately fired Gadde and other top executives after his takeover of Twitter was complete.

Dorsey praised former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal as “[his] choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs,” when he stepped down as Twitter CEO on November 29, 2021. “Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around,” he added.

“Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment, but our role is to serve a healthy public conversation and our moves are reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation. The kinds of things that we do about this is, focus less on thinking about free speech, but thinking about how the times have changed,” Agrawal said in a 2020 interview.

Dorsey acknowledged the “Twitter Files” revelations in a Dec. 13 blog post and said, “This is my fault alone.” He added he “completely gave up” on pushing for his principles “when an activist entered our stock in 2020,” without offering specifics in the blog post.

Another key executive was Yoel Roth, former Head of Trust and Safety, who said “misinformation directly causes harm” and Twitter should “reduce exposure” in private messages revealed in the Twitter Files. Ahead of the 2020 election, Roth pushed to suppress the visibility of Trump’s Tweets and held weekly meetings with intelligence officials, according to Taibbi’s reporting.

Roth’s PhD dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania focused on “Gay Data” on Grindr, a hookup app for homosexual men. He argued “queer young adults” should be accommodated on platforms like Grindr for them to “engage with peers about their sexuality,” according to the dissertation.

Musk dissolved Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council Monday, which consisted of nonprofits and experts concerned about online safety. LGBTQ activist organization GLAAD, feminist organizations and online speech groups were included on the council.

Three members of the Trust and Safety Council resigned in protest of Musk’s free speech policies, they announced in a letter. One member cited “the rise in racist, violent and hate speech” during an interview with Business Insider.

The company’s overall workforce was overwhelmingly Democratic, according to campaign finance data compiled by watchdog OpenSecrets. Employees reportedly gave 96.38% of their campaign donations to Democrats in 2018 and 98.47% of their donations in the 2020 election cycle. The figure increased to 99.73% for the 2022 election cycle before Musk took over the company.

Gadde has given small sums of money to Democratic candidates beginning in the 2004 election, OpenSecrets data shows. Dorsey donated $10 million to a think tank studying Critical Race Theory and $3 million to an activist organization founded by Colin Kaepernick.

Twitter did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment. Roth, Agrawal, Gadde and Dorsey did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.