Twitter spokesman Trenton Kennedy said Gadde became emotional when he discussed the team’s impact and the pride she feels in them.
Sources confirmed that she talked for a long time about how proud she is of the work her team has done and offered employees encouragement, and encouraged them to continue striving to do good work in the company.
Gadde, who has worked on Twitter since 2011, is the main leader responsible for overseeing Twitter’s trust and security, legal and public policy functions. She is seen internally as Twitter’s “moral authority” and the executive that has the task of dealing with sensitive issues such as harassment and dangerous speech.
Gade played a leading role in negotiating the agreement between Twitter and Musk, according to a person familiar with the dynamics.
She has run Twitter through some of the most controversial political battles, including the decision to remove all political publicity and to remove former President Donald Trump from the platform in the wake of the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill ̵[ads1]1; a position that has given her devoted fans within Twitter, as well as a large contingent of right-wing critics.
But as news of Musk’s official takeover broke, political and legal officials at the meeting worried about what his leadership could mean for Twitter’s carefully crafted rules for online speech, including guidelines against hate speech, misinformation and even political publicity.
“I believe everyone on Twitter, no matter how they feel about the news, feels reflected and emotional,” said one Twitter employee. “We’ve been through a lot over the last two years, and I think it’s generally led to a lot of reflection. I think this was more of a recognition of the insecurity everyone is feeling right now.”
Gadde and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Musk’s acquisition, which puts the world’s richest man at the helm of one of the most influential social media networks, is one of the largest activist acquisitions ever of a listed company.
Musk has asked Twitter to really embrace free speech and has advocated for open source code for Twitter’s algorithm and removal of all spam bots from the platform. Most importantly, Musk has signaled that he strongly supports loosening the company’s content moderation guidelines, and suggests that it should only remove content if required by law. It would be a big change for the company, which has spent years creating elaborate guidelines to reduce the amount of cruel and threatening content on the platform.
Gadde himself has spoken out to ensure that Twitter’s guidelines protect the most vulnerable users while protecting freedom of expression – a position that is contrary to Musks.
“I am often inspired by the heated debates about controversial issues that arise on Twitter, but I have also been seriously bothered by the situation of some of our users who are completely overwhelmed by those who try to curb healthy discourse in the name of freedom of speech,” wrote Gadde in a Washington Post issue from 2015. “At times, this takes the form of hate speech in tweets directed at women or minority groups; in others, it takes the form of threats aimed at intimidating those who take a stand on issues.”
Gadde has one of the most controversial positions on Twitter: her teams decide how to moderate content. This has made her a target for right-wing criticism, especially when Twitter blocked the distribution of a New York Post article about President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, in 2020. She faced a renewed wave of criticism after several reports confirmed her standing behind the decision to ban Trump from Twitter.
“No matter what we do, we’ve been accused of bias,” she told Bloomberg News in 2020. “Leaving content, removing content – there’s been quite a bit of background noise.”
It is currently unclear what Musk’s acquisition will mean for Twitter – and for Gadde’s future with the company. Leaders in all hands responded Monday when employees asked what Musk’s leadership would mean for Twitter’s guidelines.
During his team meeting, Gadde expressed similar concerns. And several employees left the debrief with a renewed sense of loyalty to her.
“If you look up the word ‘inspiring’ in the dictionary, you will find a picture of @vijaya,” tweeted senior public police officer Kennedy O’Brien.
“Grateful as always for your leadership @vijaya – could not have felt luckier,” twitret red pathTwitter Spain’s leader in public policy, government and philanthropy.
Many progressives have raised deep concerns about Musk’s move to buy Twitter.
The billionaire entrepreneur has “used the platform to attack people, and often launches childish pages against anyone he does not like or agree with,” said Jessica González, co-CEO of the progressive technology group Free Press. “And he has regularly gathered a Twitter mob of loyal fans to follow his clue with more malicious threats and bullying.”