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] Her role includes handling issues such as harassment, misinformation, and harmful speech.[4][5] She is known for her involvement in decisions and policies taken by Twitter, such as the decision not to sell political ads in the 2020 United States presidential election, the approach taken to issues such as harassment and harmful speech, and other high profile contentious decisions made by Twitter.[2][4]

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.[6][7] In October 2020, Politico profiled her as "the most powerful technology executive you've never heard of".[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Gadde was born in India to a Telugu family and moved to the United States at age three.[6][8] 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.[9] Her family moved to Beaumont, Texas.[10] 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.[8]

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][6][11]

Career[edit]

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.[9][11] 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.[10][11]

In 2018 she announced Twitter's hiring of researchers to study the health of discourse on the platform.[12]

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.[13] 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.[13] 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."[13]

In 2019 she convinced then-CEO Jack Dorsey not to sell political advertisements during the 2020 United States presidential election, a high profile move which received both praise and criticism.[2]

She was one of the key officials at Twitter involved in decisions to suspend the account of former American President Donald Trump.[14]

Gadde earned nearly $17 million in 2021 as Twitter's chief legal officer, and earned roughly $7.3 million in 2020.[15]

Following the announcement of the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk in 2022, Gadde received renewed attention. Musk contested the existing policies of Twitter, saying the platform should only remove content if required by the law, and criticized Gadde for the decision to block a New York Post story about Hunter Biden.[16][17][18] It was reported that Gadde expressed concerns and talked about significant uncertainties about the future of Twitter under the potential leadership of Musk during a virtual meeting with the policy and legal teams.[19] Musk's criticism of Gadde generated some controversy due to online abuse that Gadde subsequently received, including racist slurs, and speculation that Musk's criticism may have violated the terms of the takeover agreement, which prohibited Musk from posting disparaging tweets regarding the company or its representatives. She allegedly cried during a meeting about the acquisition and was subjected to general online ridicule by Musk and his followers.[16][20][21]

Musk's comments echoed some other criticism of Gadde, especially from the political right, who have accused her of being Twitter's "top censorship advocate”, for her role in suspending former U.S. President Donald Trump's Twitter account. It also follows criticism of the decision by Twitter, which Gadde was involved in, to prevent users from sharing a New York Post story regarding Hunter Biden's laptop during the 2020 U.S. election where his father Joe Biden was a candidate. This decision was later said to be wrong by Jack Dorsey.[4] Gadde has been defended by others, including by former colleagues and law professor Danielle Citron, who claimed that Gadde understood the impact of online harassment.[4]

As Twitter's Chief Legal Officer, Elon Musk's letter to terminate the purchase of Twitter on July 8, 2022 was addressed to her.[22][23]

References[edit]

  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 d "Twitter lawyer long weighed safety, free speech. Then Musk called her out". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  5. ^ "Twitter's top lawyer 'cried' during team meeting over Elon Musk deal". The Independent. 27 April 2022.
  6. ^ a b c "Vijaya Gadde". Fortune. 2014-10-09. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ a b Chidan, Rajghatta (January 10, 2021). "Meet the desi who shapes policy at Twitter". The Times of India. Retrieved 2022-05-01.
  9. ^ a b "Twitter's top female exec on discrimination and overcoming adversity". Fortune. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  10. ^ a b Frier, Sarah (2014-05-13). "Twitter's Vijaya Gadde Fights for Free Speech, Revenue". News India Times. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  11. ^ a b c "Vijaya Gadde: "From Texas to Twitter"". NYU School of Law. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  12. ^ O'Brien, Sara Ashley (2018-07-30). "Twitter hires researchers to study the 'health' of its 'discourse'". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  13. ^ a b c "Twitter CEO trolled for 'smash Brahminical patriarchy' placard". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  14. ^ Business, Clare Duffy and Rishi Iyengar, CNN. "This exec was central to banning Trump on Twitter. Now she's facing thorny issues in democracies abroad". CNN. Retrieved 2022-07-09.
  15. ^ 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)
  16. ^ a b "Musk Is Barred From Disparaging Twitter When Tweeting About Deal". Bloomberg. 2022-04-26. Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  17. ^ "Twitter's top lawyer 'cried' during team meeting over Elon Musk deal". The Independent. 27 April 2022.
  18. ^ 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)
  19. ^ "Twitter's top lawyer reassures staff, cries during meeting about Musk takeover". Politico. Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  20. ^ Bhattacharya, Ananya (April 27, 2022). "An Indian-born female Twitter executive received a barrage of abuse following a Musk tweet". Quartz. Archived from the original on April 30, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  21. ^ "Twitter Legal Executive Hit With Online Abuse Following Musk Tweet". Bloomberg.com. 2022-04-27. Retrieved 2022-07-07.
  22. ^ Vanian, Jonathan (2022-07-09). "Elon Musk has been expressing buyer's remorse over Twitter for months". CNBC. Retrieved 2022-07-11.
  23. ^ "Exhibit P". Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 2022-07-10.