Don’t like Twitter’s new CEO? Blame Paul Singer

Thousands of user accounts disappeared from Twitter shortly after new Chief Executive Parag Agrawal took over the reins in November from outgoing CEO Jack Dorsey. The tech giant claimed the purges focused on eliminating bots and propaganda accounts, mostly from China.

In reality, however, Twitter’s digital street sweepers are casting a much wider net, purging many right-wing accounts, including those that spread news outside of mainstream coverage, like Project Veritas.

A central and overlooked detail in Twitter’s new censorship regime is that Twitter’s new CEO was installed by neoconservative GOP megadonor Paul Singer through his hedge fund, Elliott Management. In 2020, Singer launched a shareholder campaign to oust Dorsey as CEO. “Twitter management has finally reached an agreement with Elliott giving the company and its ally, private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, three seats on Twitter’s board of directors on the condition that Dorsey remain CEO,” said the Observer reported.

Singer’s role in Agrawal’s rise illustrates the interplay between the real power behind the GOP — the wealthy donors — and the party’s grassroots enemies in Silicon Valley.

For example, in December, Twitter suspended the Project Veritas-affiliated Twitter account that posted a story that placed Rick Saleeby, a CNN producer on “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” at the center of a pedophilia scandal. In the leaked text messages, Saleeby seemed fantasize to a source about sexual acts with her fiancé’s underage daughter. He also allegedly solicited sexually explicit photos of the source’s underage daughter. The scoop followed John griffin, another CNN producer, arrested and accused with federal sex crimes against children.

Twitter’s action was likely linked to a new privacy policy Agrawal promulgated November 30. Under the change, publication of “media from individuals without the permission of the person(s) depicted” is prohibited. Apparently Saleeby is protected by this policy, but it is unclear whether it will be applied equally across the political spectrum. Indeed, Twitter called it a “mistake” when they initially banned left-wing accounts that post private information in an attempt to harm their reputation or goodwill. “Post-deployment, we became aware of a significant number of coordinated and malicious reports, and unfortunately our enforcement teams made several errors,” Twitter said The Independent.

Agrawal described his views on content moderation as mitigating the “harm” caused by “misinformation” in a recent interview with MIT Technology Review. “Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment, but our role is to serve a healthy public conversation and our actions reflect things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation,” Agrawal said. He added that Twitter is not a “neutral party” and will defer to what undermines the wisdom of “credible sources”. In other words, those of the mainstream left-wing media.

Agrawal’s own tweets reveal his leftist politics. “If they don’t discriminate between Muslims and extremists, then why should I discriminate between whites and racists?” he tweeted in 2010, citing anti-white comedian Aasif Mandvi. In 2017, Agrawal boasted about a donation to the American Civil Liberties Union the day after President Donald Trump trip suspended of countries that are hotbeds of terrorism, saying, “As an immigrant, I always thought this country was better than that.

By installing Agrawal as CEO of Twitter, Paul Singer has effectively aligned himself with progressives who are calling for increased censorship against political opponents. Although he is a Republican, Singer is no friend of social conservatives. He aggressively pushed the party to embrace LGBT ideology and politics, such as gay marriage and special protections for transgender people. Indeed, the Singer-backed American Unity Fund, a GOP nonprofit for LGBT issues, was instrumental in creating Caitlyn “Bruce” Jenner. candidacy for governor in California. Jenner had assisted Inauguration of Donald Trump as a guest of the American Unity Fund. In April 2021, Axios confirmed that an entourage of former Trump White House members and campaign staff had encouraged the race and formed Jenner’s team.

Just before Singer and Elliott Management launched the effort to oust Dorsey, New York University professor and Twitter shareholder Scott Galloway wrote a scathing letter to Omid Kordestani, Executive Chairman of the company. Galloway, who called on tech companies to explicitly mark themselves as a Liberal, demanded Dorsey’s replacement and threatened to remove any trustees who opposed it. Like others, Galloway claimed Dorsey’s dilettanteism distracted him from running the business effectively. But he also voiced politically progressive grievances against Jack. “Fake accounts, GRU-sponsored trolls, algorithms that promote conspiracies and junk science, and inconsistent enforcement of your terms of service have resulted in a company that not only underperforms, but is dangerous,” wrote Galloway to Kordestani. He pointed to claims that Russia interfered in the 2016 election for Trump via Twitter.

It should be noted that the Trump-Russia file was grown in partnership between intelligence firm Fusion GPS and Washington’s Free Beacon, which would receive significant funding from Singer. Admittedly, Singer has denied any involvement in its creation. Yet Galloway essentially appealed to the atmosphere of paranoia the case was part of to demand a heavier hand from Twitter.

In February 2020, Bloomberg News reported that Elliott Management had took a significant share of Twitter and planned to oust Dorsey. Sources told CNBC the same shortly afterwards. the Financial Time Noted that Elliott Management had “threatened the board of directors with a proxy contest to replace four directors of Twitter” as part of its campaign against Dorsey. In March, Singer and his allies beat concessions on Twitter. A deal saw new board members added while Dorsey was allowed to live on borrowed time. Twitter also agreed to buy back $2 billion in stock, partly funded by a $1 billion investment from Elliot Management ally Silver Lake.

Following a sharp selloff in Twitter shares in May, Elliott Management increased its stake in the company more than $200 million, sources say Bloomberg News. The rapid growth of Singer’s influence on Twitter understandably raised questions about politics due to his reputation as a corporate and political activist. Officially he is forbidden to influence the company’s management. But people are politics, and whoever Singer appoints as CEO will fundamentally influence Twitter’s decisions.

More recently, the Agrawal diet modified its terms of use to punish users who claim vaccinated people can spread COVID-19, sometimes banning them altogether. Singer’s fund has a large stake in GlaxoSmithKline, the world’s largest vaccine company by revenue. After the drugmaker fell behind in developing a coronavirus vaccine, Glaxo has recruited a senior scientist from Pfizer who helped develop the pharmaceutical company’s jab, Bloomberg News reported. In a strongly worded letter calling for a major overhaul at Glaxo, Elliott Management criticized the medical giant’s “questionable initial strategic decision not to lead the global vaccination against COVID-19.”

The GOP’s alliance with megadonors like Singer perpetually disadvantages its own base, for the simple reason that its ideological and material interests are against them. Whether it’s the Republican Party itself or an ideologically progressive censorship-prone tech giant, following the money behind them often leads to the same pastures.

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