Who is Twitter’s New CEO?
When Jack Dorsey, 45, stepped down at the end of November, there were many questions. After all, despite saying he felt the company was “ready to move on from its founders,” Mr. Dorsey didn’t offer much else. He had previously mentioned that he felt social media algorithms were causing societal harm, so what did this mean for Twitter? And, importantly, who is replacing him? It’s easy to Google and see that a man named Parag Agrawal is replacing him as CEO – But who is he? He worked as Twitter’s chief technology officer until the new appointment. Agrawal, 37, has some big shoes to fill and particularly big goals to meet.
Both the new and former CEOs have been close throughout their tenure at the company.
The two men are also said to share the same vision for the company. Dorsey mentioned being proud of Agrawal’s ascent in the company: “Parag started here as an engineer who cared deeply about our work and now he’s our CEO (I also had a similar path … he did it better!) This alone makes me proud.”
Positioned for Speed
Agrawal has said he wants the company to move much faster in his first public interview. This is reflected by the company’s goal of having 315 million daily, monetizable, and active users by the end of 2023. The company also intends to double its revenue in the same year. As Agrawal intends, these will not be easy goals to meet without moving faster. Agrawal began work at the company as a product engineer in 2011, only becoming CTO six years later in 2017.
New Role as CEO for Agrawal
In the first week of December, Twitter’s new CEO reorganized the company to fit into three pillars. Consumer, revenue, and Core Tech divisions were formed, with a general manager overseeing each pillar. This change also sees two prominent figures who previously answered to Jack Dorsey leaving the company at the end of December. These are engineering lead Michael Montano and design and research head Dantley Davis. Agrawal has implied that the previous company setup slowed the company down. However, he now says that he believes that the general managers have been set up “so they can really move fast” compared to the old structure. He goes on to say that “[Twitter was] operating previously in a functional structure where we had a single engineering organization, a single design research organization, and product teams that were matrixed into them.”
Previously, Argawal was responsible for research internships with Microsoft, AT&T, and Yahoo before he joined Twitter. Argawal also leads some of Twitter’s most exciting projects. These have involved machine learning, cryptocurrency, and cloud computing. In addition, he has been a huge part of Twitter’s push to decentralize social media as a whole. Because of this, he will likely guide Twitter’s overall messaging and speech rules on the platform.
One such new rule may have come in the form of expanded private information policies in late November.
Twitter’s Expanded Private Information Policy
In a posting by Twitter Safety on Tuesday, November 30th, the company unveiled its latest effort to protect user privacy. Previously, it was forbidden to publish private phone numbers, addresses, and other information on Twitter. This also prohibited the threat of exposing private information (doxing) or encouraging others to do so. Twitter cited “growing concerns about the misuse of media” and its use as a tool to “harass, intimidate, and reveal the identities of individuals” in its posting.
The new policy considers that media such as images, videos, and audio can put users at risk of physical or emotional harm. In addition, Twitter noted that the company feels these problems disproportionately affect women, activities, and minorities. As such, users can now report private media to the company to prompt disciplinary action.
An Overview of Twitter’s Private Information Policy
There are certain types of information that users can’t share on Twitter without the permission of the person who owns that information.
This includes home addresses or things that can lead to a person’s physical presence. As such, GPS coordinates or street names are included. Users cannot post government IDs such as Social Security cards or ID cards. Non-public email addresses, phone numbers, bank account information, credit card details, medical records, biometric data, and more were also prohibited from being posted to Twitter. Now, media such as photos and videos of private individuals cannot be posted without consent.
Twitter notes that this policy does not extend to public figures such as celebrities or those who hold office. The company notes there are even exceptions here, however. For example, if the posting intends to harass, threaten, or intimidate them, the content could be removed. These are just some of the changes that Twitter has experienced under its new CEO.
Time will tell if the youngest CEO in the S&P 500 will be able to meet the company’s lofty goals, but he appears to be aggressively pursuing them.