In news that broke earlier this week, CEO and co-founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey has departed the social media platform that made him a billionaire, prompting many to ask what exactly lies ahead for the behemoth that is Twitter.
As per an email statement that was sent to Twitter employees – and subsequently, via Tweet to the public – the executive, who is reportedly worth in excess of $11 billion, has named Twitter’s chief technology officer Parag Agrawal as his successor, who takes the reigns as chief executive effective immediately. Dorsey will retain his seat on the board until his term ends in 2022.
“I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders,” Dorsey said in a statement.
Notably, it is Dorsey’s second time stepping aside as chief executive of Twitter (in 2008, he was ousted by his co-founder, Evan Williams).
not sure anyone has heard but,
I resigned from Twitter pic.twitter.com/G5tUkSSxkl
— jack⚡️ (@jack) November 29, 2021
For these reasons – among others – the news of Dorsey’s departure hasn’t come as a complete surprise. Only last year, Elliott Management Corp – a hedge fund backed by Republican mega-donor/billionaire Paul Singer – bought a sizeable amount of Twitter shares in the hopes of eventually ousting Dorsey, after the fund claimed Dorsey’s dealings as a CEO for both Twitter and Square Inc. was unorthodox and unethical.
With Dorsey gone, is it reasonable to suggest that Twitter, under the guise of Elliott Management Corp, will look to rescind its social media policies relating to the constitution of synthetic and manipulated media put in place in 2020? And the burning question that is on everyone’s mind: will Donald Trump have his Twitter account reinstated? Or will we see a ton of Trump-official accounts popping up? Especially as Trump looks to once again run for President in 2024, no doubt having his Twitter platform back will prove a vital asset to once again springboard his propaganda.
Jack Dorsey has stepped down & a Republican megadonor has a stake in Twitter. Endgame is probably to get Trump back on Twitter and finish destroying what’s left of our democracy.
(Linked article is from Feb 2020)https://t.co/raa2QwuZPa
— I Brake 4 Ants (@ibrake4ants) November 29, 2021
These are very real future worries for the Twitter brand. But over the last 24-months, Dorsey has faced an avalanche of problems, leaving pundits to think that the 45-year old is getting out while he can. Along with having to deal with an unprecedented global pandemic (despite accounts that Twitter users grew during the height of the pandemic lockdowns), there was the burgeoning backlash of balancing content moderation and demands for free speech, the growing fear of misinformation, an 11% Twitter share price slump in October of this year, all the while actively trying to work on product development and ultimately, innovate the global platform that boasts over 211 million daily users.
And while Dorsey may not have been in the direct firing line of unethical issues like that of his tech titan counterparts (à la Mark Zuckerberg) he’s certainly had to deal with his fair share of drama whilst having to spearhead the future of Twitter’s growth. Doesn’t sound like an easy gig to us.
So, what now of Twitter’s future?
Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, and a positive one to come; the ushering in of a new era. With Dorsey gone and a new board-backed CEO in Parag Agrawal, some may suggest that Twitter is in the perfect position to shake off the shackles of its problematic decade and look to reinvent itself as we enter a new age of digital decentralisation.
“My trust in Parag as Twitter’s CEO is deep. His work over the past 10 years has been transformational. I’m deeply grateful for his skill, heart and soul. It’s his time to lead,’ Dorsey said in his statement.
While Agrawal certainly has his work cut out for him, he’s no stranger to the business, having worked for the company for a decade as an engineer, and possessing a talented tech mind first and foremost. Agrawal was a purveyor in Twitter’s incorporation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies and has also played an integral part in Bluesky, a Twitter-funded organisation that is seeking to build a “decentralized” common standard for social media companies globally.
As for Dorsey’s legacy at Twitter?
While Twitter shares surged by almost 5% after his exit announcement, there is no doubt that Dorsey has made great progress on the fronts of better protecting its users and disabling the ability for false or misinformation to be wide spread. He’s also been an integral player in the push for the decentralisation of power on the internet.
Watch this space, as we suspect this story isn’t over just quite yet…