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Meet the new CEO of Twitter

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Monday, Twitter (TWTR) CEO Jack Dorsey announced it was resign and appointed Agrawal, the company’s chief technology officer, as his replacement.
Agrawal will have his job for him. Dorsey is taking the reins at a critical time for Twitter: The company continues to experiment with ways to grow its payment business and user base after setting new growth targets last year while face an activist investor. The change also comes as more technology platforms involved in digital marketing, Twitter’s existing key business, move to offer users more control over their personal data.

“Twitter is in the middle of shaking up its business model,” said Jasmine Engberg, a senior analyst at industry research firm eMarketer. “The world of advertising faces real challenges with new targeting and privacy initiatives, and Twitter is experimenting with new revenue streams to grow its ad business and achieve aggressive revenue targets that are “The next CEO will have to face the challenge of achieving these goals.”

Twitter also continues to face questions (and possible new regulations) about how technology platforms handle issues like hate speech and misinformation. As CEO, Dorsey was discussed on these and other issues on several occasions by members of Congress.

Although Twitter can be a fraction of the size of the rival Facebook (FB) in terms of its user base, it is often mentioned in the same way and receives a similar level of scrutiny. And with good reason: a single tweet from a high-profile person can spark markets around the world, and an entire movement can emerge around a seemingly overnight hashtag.

The potential impact of Twitter on world events is not lost on Agrawal, which can now face a higher level of attention and scrutiny. In a note to employees on Monday, Agrawal acknowledged that “the world is watching us right now.”

From software engineer to CEO

While not a Twitter co-founder like Dorsey, Agrawal has been a veteran of the company for a decade. He joined Twitter in 2011 as a software engineer and became the company’s CTO in 2017, after previous stays at Microsoft and Yahoo during the 2000s. He holds a degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay and Stanford University.
As an engineer, Agrawal played a key role in driving the “acceleration” of Twitter growth in 2016 and 2017, according to his company’s biography, a possible look at why Agrawal might have been one of the best options for the position of CEO. As a CTO, so does Agrawal helped monitor Twitter’s fledgling cryptocurrency initiatives and their machine learning efforts.

“It has long been my choice given how deeply I understand the company and its needs,” Dorsey wrote in an internal note shared on Twitter. “Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped change this company. He is curious, inquiring, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware and humble. He leads with heart and soul.”

The board’s decision to nominate him for the position was unanimous, Dorsey said in the note.

With Twitter’s growing focus on its revenue model, the company could have turned to someone with business experience. Instead, the company has shown that it remains committed to leading engineers – builders who are intimately familiar with its product. In this sense, Agrawal’s rise echoes a familiar Silicon Valley theme.

As if to underline the point, Agrawal appealed to his colleagues, telling them in his first note as CEO: I am one of you. “I walked on your skin,” he wrote. “I’ve seen the ups and downs, the challenges and the obstacles, the victories and the mistakes.”

The appeal to unity comes as many workers in the technology industry have felt more comfortable facing their employers on a number of issues, such as workplace culture, climate advocacy, and corporate policies. Agrawal hinted in his note about the commitment to make Twitter a place where its employees want to stay.

“I want #LoveWhereYouWork,” Agrawal wrote, “and I also love how we work together to make the most impact possible.”

Dorsey’s strong endorsement in Agrawal may also hint that they are coming into contact with many of the company’s problems. If so, Agrawal could continue to develop some of the ideas initiated under Dorsey’s surveillance, whether it’s a drive to promote ability of users to choose between different content ranking algorithms; contributions to a open social media standard; or decentralize content moderation and placement more of that power in the hands of users.

These initiatives arose in large part from the company’s response to widespread criticism of its handling of misinformation, hate speech and violent rhetoric, issues that will now be Agrawal’s responsibility in the eyes of political leaders. and the public.

In an interview Last year, Agrawal offered a look at how he thinks about one of the most thorny issues Twitter faces: How to stop the rise of echo chambers that drive polarization and strengthen divisions.

His response was an engineer’s response and shed some light on how Twitter’s future looks. Agrawal said the company was looking to change more to help users follow topics, “rather than just following people.”

“By following topics, you choose and you can get a diverse set of perspectives related to that topic, rather than just your set of voices that you chose to hear,” he said. “And we believe that a future and more current way of using Twitter will likely expose people to a wider range of perspectives, a broader set of views, and help people not be in a filter bubble.”

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