Vijaya Gadde

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Vijaya Gadde
Vijaya Gadde on Access Now.jpg
Gadde on Access Now in 2021
Born1974 (age 47–48)
EducationCornell University (BS)
New York University (JD)

Vijaya Gadde (born 1974)[1] is an American attorney, who serves as general counsel and the head of legal, policy, and trust at Twitter.[2][3] In 2014, she was described by Fortune as the most powerful woman on Twitter's executive team, though she was later joined by Chief Marketing Officer Leslie Berland.[4][5] She convinced then-CEO Jack Dorsey not to sell political advertisements during the 2020 United States presidential election.[2] She has spoken in defense of the decision by stating, "It wasn't about anything other than, 'This is the right thing to do for us as a company.'"[2]

In October 2020, Politico profiled her as "the most powerful technology executive you've never heard of".[2]

Early life and education

Gadde was born in India to a Telugu family and moved to the United States at age three.[4][6] Her father pursued graduate studies in the United States and initially did not have the financial means to send for his wife and daughter until Gadde turned three.[7] Her family moved to Beaumont, Texas.[8] She has described her childhood as having been affected by the Ku Klux Klan presence in Beaumont, so much that her Indian father's employer instructed him to get permission from the local Klan before he could go door-to-door for soliciting insurance.[6]

Gadde received a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial and labor relations from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a Juris Doctor from the New York University School of Law in 2000.[2][4][9]

Career

Before joining Twitter in 2011, Gadde spent nearly a decade working at the Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. She was also senior director in the legal department of Silicon Valley technology firm Juniper Networks.[7][9] While at WSGR, Gadde worked on the 2006 $4.1 billion McClatchy Co.-Knight Ridder Inc. acquisition and acted as counsel to the New York Stock Exchange’s Proxy Working Group and Committee on Corporate Governance.[8][9]

In 2018 she announced Twitter's hiring of researchers to study the health of discourse on the platform.[10]

In 2018, Gadde joined Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for meetings in India where they talked with several Dalit activists about their experiences on Twitter; after the meeting, the activists gave Dorsey a sign reading "Smash Brahminical Patriarchy," which he was later photographed holding.[11] The photograph attracted controversy, with some critics calling the sentiment discriminatory against Brahmins while others deemed it an appropriate response to caste- and gender-based oppression in India.[11] Gadde responded to the social media furor with an apology in a series of tweets, "I'm very sorry for this. It's not reflective of our views. We took a private photo with a gift just given to us - we should have been more thoughtful. Twitter strives to be an impartial platform for all. We failed to do that here & we must do better to serve our customers in India."[11]

She was one of the key officials at Twitter involved in decisions to suspend the account of former American President Donald Trump.[12]

Gadde earned $17 million in 2021 as Twitter's chief legal officer, and is a company executive tasked with handling sensitive issues including harassment and dangerous speech.[13][14] Following the announcement of the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk in 2022, Musk instead suggested the platform should only remove content if required by the law[15][16][17] During the acquisition, Musk restated his view on moderation, recanting that the ideal policy would make “the most extreme 10% on left and right equally unhappy”.[18][19] At a conference, Musk again changed his expressed view on content moderation, mentioning the possibility of temporary account suspensions and stating “If there are tweets that are wrong and bad, those should be either deleted or made invisible”.[20]

Following news of Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter, Gadde reportedly cried during a virtual meeting with the policy and legal teams discussing the acquisition.[12]

Musk's comments echoed some other criticism of Gadde, such as by podcast host Saagar Enjeti who called her “top censorship advocate” for her role in suspending former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Twitter account. Gadde also received some criticism for her involvement in preventing users from sharing a New York Post story regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop during the 2020 U.S. election of his father Joe Biden to the presidency, a decision Jack Dorsey later said was wrong.[21][22][23] Gadde has been defended by others, including by former colleagues and Danielle Citron, who said Gadde understood the impact of online harassment.[24]

References

  1. ^ Conger, Kate; Isaac, Mike (16 January 2021). "Inside Twitter's Decision to Cut off Trump". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Is Twitter Going Full Resistance? Here's the Woman Driving the Change". Politico.
  3. ^ "About Twitter | Our company purpose, principles, leadership". about.twitter.com. Retrieved 2022-05-05.
  4. ^ a b c "Vijaya Gadde". Fortune. 2014-10-09. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  5. ^ Wagner, Kurt (2017-08-24). "Twitter CMO Leslie Berland is also taking over human resources as the new 'Head of People'". Recode. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  6. ^ a b Chidan, Rajghatta (January 10, 2021). "Meet the desi who shapes policy at Twitter". The Times of India. Retrieved 2022-05-01.
  7. ^ a b "Twitter's top female exec on discrimination and overcoming adversity". Fortune. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  8. ^ a b Frier, Sarah (2014-05-13). "Twitter's Vijaya Gadde Fights for Free Speech, Revenue". News India Times. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  9. ^ a b c "Vijaya Gadde: "From Texas to Twitter"". NYU School of Law. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  10. ^ O'Brien, Sara Ashley (2018-07-30). "Twitter hires researchers to study the 'health' of its 'discourse'". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  11. ^ a b c "Twitter CEO trolled for 'smash Brahminical patriarchy' placard". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  12. ^ a b "Twitter's top lawyer reassures staff, cries during meeting about Musk takeover". Politico. Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  13. ^ "Twitter's top lawyer 'cried' during team meeting over Elon Musk deal". The Independent. 27 April 2022.
  14. ^ Baxter, Brian (April 4, 2022). "Before Musk Stock Buy, Twitter Top Lawyer's Pay Jumped 130% (1)". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved April 29, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "Musk Is Barred From Disparaging Twitter When Tweeting About Deal". Bloomberg. 2022-04-26. Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  16. ^ "Twitter's top lawyer 'cried' during team meeting over Elon Musk deal". The Independent. 27 April 2022.
  17. ^ Baxter, Brian (April 4, 2022). "Before Musk Stock Buy, Twitter Top Lawyer's Pay Jumped 130% (1)". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved April 29, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "Here's what Elon Musk has said about his plans for Twitter". Washington Post. 2022-05-10. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  19. ^ "Musk: Good Policies". Twitter. 19 April 2022.
  20. ^ "Elon Musk, Donald Trump, and Twitter's unknowable future". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  21. ^ "Musk Says He Would Reverse Twitter's Ban of Donald Trump". Time. Retrieved 2022-05-21.
  22. ^ "'If Elon Musk Is 'Targeting' Twitter Employees, Isn't The Washington Post 'Targeting' Elon Musk?". Reason. 27 April 2022.
  23. ^ Bursztynsky, Jessica (2020-10-16). "Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says blocking New York Post story was 'wrong'". CNBC. Retrieved 2022-06-23.
  24. ^ "Twitter lawyer long weighed safety, free speech. Then Musk called her out". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
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