Parag Agrawal, who took over Monday as the new head of Twitter, shot from relative obscurity as the platform’s technology expert to becoming the latest India-born talent to lead a US tech giant.
Unlike his predecessor, co-founder Jack Dorsey, Agrawal enjoyed until Monday a much more low-profile role at the company, with only about 24,000 followers on the platform, compared to Dorsey’s almost six million.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
But with a tweeted statement that began, “Thank you, Jack, I’m honored and humbled,” Agrawal took the reins of a company aiming to steer away from free speech battles and toward growth.
Agrawal is also the latest India-born star tapped to head a major US-based tech company, following the likes of Google-parent Alphabet’s CEO Sundar Pichai and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
“He’s been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around,” Dorsey wrote of Agrawal in a message to Twitter staff.
“He leads with heart and soul, and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone deep.”
Educated in computer science and engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and holding a PhD from Stanford University in California, Agrawal joined Twitter in 2011 and rose to become its CTO by 2017.
As the head of technology at the firm, he oversaw machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as the company’s broad technical strategy.
These specialties make him a natural choice to replace Dorsey, Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi told AFP.
“Going forward AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) will be more and more critical in making the platform healthier and more engaging for users and more profitable for the company,” she said.
“We might also see some more rigor and rational in the decision making process,” Milanesi added.
Agrawal was also head of the company’s “Bluesky” push to create a more open and decentralized standard for social media.
“I recognize that some of you know me well, some just a little, and some not at all,” Agrawal said in an email to the some 5,500 employees at San Francisco-based Twitter.
The platform has grown far less exponentially than its Silicon Valley neighbors and has very meager net profits compared to the two giants of digital advertising, Google and Facebook’s parent Meta.
Profitable for the first time in 2017, Twitter has slipped back into the red several times since.
Dorsey is perhaps best know to the public as the man who kicked Donald Trump off Twitter, the former president’s preferred megaphone to rally his fans and assail his critics.
But Agrawal has given indications that he does not view the platform as a venue for working out boundaries of free speech.
In an interview with MIT Technology Review in 2020, Agrawal said the company, which became a focus of conservative rage in the US after banning Trump, should “focus less” on free speech.
“Our role is to serve a healthy public conversation and our moves are reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation,” he said.
Jack Dorsey steps down as Twitter CEOTwitter announced Monday that co-founder Jack Dorsey was stepping down immediately as CEO, with the company's chief technical officer Parag Agrawal ... Technology
Twitter slowdown to remain until all banned content is removed: Russian regulatorRussia will continue slowing down the speed of Twitter on mobile devices until all content deemed illegal is deleted, state communications regulator ... World News
Twitter flags US lawmaker’s anime video on Biden, Ocasio-Cortez for violating policyTwitter Inc added a warning label on Tuesday to an anime video shared by US Republican lawmaker Paul Gosar, depicting him swinging swords at President ... World News
Trump still needs Twitter even with his new app, lawyer saysFormer President Donald Trump will continue to suffer “irreparable harm from being kicked off Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. even after his new social ... World News
Trump asks Florida judge to force Twitter to restart his accountFormer US President Donald Trump asked a federal judge in Florida to force Twitter to reinstate his account, Bloomberg News reported late on ... World News
Twitter removes blue badge from Afghan official accounts after Taliban takeoverAfter the Taliban took control of Afghanistan and seized all the ministries, Twitter has removed the blue verification badge from several accounts of ... World News
Twitter reportedly restricts access for several former Trump admin officialsAl Arabiya English was unable to independently verify the reason for the move. Middle East
Twitter unblocks accounts of India’s Rahul Gandhi, other opposition leadersTwitter unblocked the accounts of India’s main opposition party Congress, its leader Rahul Gandhi and other party officials on Saturday, days after ... World News
Nigeria to lift Twitter ban soon, says Information ministerNigeria will soon lift its ban on Twitter after resolving some of its differences with the social media platform, Information Minister Lai Mohammed ... World News
AP, Reuters to help Twitter elevate more credible infoTwitter has signed a deal with The Associated Press and Reuters to help elevate accurate information on its platform. Twitter said Monday that the ... Life
Twitter tests ‘shopping module’ in e-commerce moveTwitter on Wednesday began testing a feature allowing businesses sell goods from their profile pages at the one-to-many messaging platform.A “Shopping ... Technology
Donald Trump announces anti-censorship class-action lawsuit against Facebook, TwitterFormer US president Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is filing a class-action lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter, and Google, escalating his ... World News