The Indian-born Parag Agrawal was appointed the new CEO of Twitter on Monday, picking the leadership baton from the outgoing CEO, Jack Dorsey. Data from Bloomberg showed that Agrawal is the youngest CEO to run a company in the S&P 500.
The 37-year-old Agrawal was born in Ajmer, Rajasthan, India. His father was a senior official in the Indian Department of Atomic Energy and his mother is a retired school teacher. Agrawal obtained his B.Tech. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Bombay in 2005, and further pursued Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University in the United States.
According to his LinkedIn profile, he began his career as a researcher with Microsoft in 2006, thereafter worked with Yahoo!. He later returned to Microsoft in 2009, keeping his old role. Mid-year 2020, he joined AT&T Labs, Inc. after which he joined Twitter as Distinguished Software Engineer in 2017, a few years after he rose to the post of Chief Technical Officer. He’s currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer at Twitter.
The company revealed that Jack Dorsey, the outgoing CEO, will remain on the company’s board of directors until his term expires in 2022. While serving as Twitter’s CEO, Dorsey was also working with his payment processing company, Square in the same capacity as CEO. However, it was believed that his resignation from Twitter will enable him to focus on his payment company and also pursue other interests.
The new CEO, Agrawal is the first full-time CEO Twitter has had in years. Following his appointment on Monday, he sent his first official message as the CEO to Twitter employees. He said, “We recently updated our strategy to hit ambitious goals, and I believe that strategy to be bold and right,”
“But our critical challenge is how we work to execute against it and deliver results — that’s how we’ll make Twitter be the best it can be for our customers, shareholders, and for each of you.
“The world is watching us right now, even more than they have before, It’s because they care about Twitter and our future, and it’s a signal that the work we do here matters”. Agrawal wrote on Monday.
Twitter shareholders are expecting Agrawal to create a clear path strategy towards building the company’s revenue and engagement metrics. Despite the expanding growth of Twitter’s users, the company still lags behind in growth, stock returns and revenue compared to its peers in the social media space like Snapchat and Meta. Although Jack Dorsey has upped the company’s return and revenue by 62 percent and 68 percent respectfully since he took leadership in 2015, however, this could not be compared to the growth recorded by its social media rival, Meta, previously Facebook who reportedly gained over 250 percent in stock returns and over 4 times sales growth in the same time frame.
Speaking on the expectations from the new CEO, Jill Wilson the chief marketing officer for Esquire Digital said Agrawal is expected to pick up where Dorsey left off and continue to fight for users which are being lured away by competitors like TikTok and Instagram. “Agrawal has his work cut out for him in terms of keeping Twitter relevant and getting the everyday user on board, and monetizing the platform in general”. She added.
However, Mark Shmulik, an equity research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein believed otherwise. He argued that in order to remain competitive Agrawal may need to change the company’s culture so as to ensure that new products and strategies can be implemented at a quicker pace than it was done in the past leadership. “Can he at least avoid being the cog that everything needs to go through to get approvals and to get things moving? Can he give more autonomy to different parts of the org so they can move at a quicker pace?” Shmulik said.
Although Agrawal is just coming to the public limelight, growing Twitter business isn’t the only challenge at hand but also the moderation of speech through Twitter which has become a growing concern in the political sphere. “The new CEO will need to work out how to stop his platform being a machine that is routinely and perpetually hijacked to distort the news agenda, produce fake popularity and influence, and provide a warped lens on the world,” said Imran Ahmed, the CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate.
United States Federal Trade Commission Fines Twitter $150 Million Over Privacy, Security Violations
The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ordered Twitter Incorporation to pay a sum of $150m as a fine for violating the 2011 administrative order of the Commission over its decision to use the email addresses and phone numbers of its users for targeted advertising.
The suit noted that the misrepresentations violated the FTC Act. Therefore, the commission and Twitter agreed to a settlement of $150 million after Twitter had earlier told users that the data was gathered for security purposes.
Checks by Investors King show the verdict was announced by the U.S Department of Justice (DoJ) on Wednesday. The US DoJ in its 20-page count filed in the US District Court alleged that Twitter asked users for their contact information to make their accounts more secure. The social media giant failed to tell users that it would also use their phone numbers and email addresses to help companies send targeted ads to them.
“Twitter obtained data from users on the pretext of harnessing it for security purposes but then ended up also using the data to target users with ads,” FTC Chair, Lina Khan accused.
Khan further said the practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue.
The 2011 FTC order stated that Twitter “engaged in deceptive acts or practices” by misrepresenting how it handled user data and that the company lacked reasonable safeguards to keep accounts and data secure. Additionally, the order barred Twitter from misrepresenting “the extent to which [it] maintains and protects the security, privacy, confidentiality, or integrity of any nonpublic consumer information,” the order read in part.
Twitter’s settlement covers allegations that it misrepresented the “security and privacy” of user data between May 2013 and September 2019, according to the court documents.
In addition to the monetary settlement, the agreement requires Twitter to improve its compliance practices,” according to the statement of order.
According to the complaint issued, “Specifically, while Twitter represented to users that it collected their telephone numbers and email addresses to secure their accounts, Twitter failed to disclose that it also used user contact information to aid advertisers in reaching their preferred audiences.”
Twitter is a free service that generates its revenue majorly through advertising
The company generated $5bn in revenue in 2021 and said in a filing earlier in May that it had put aside $150m after agreeing” in principle” upon a sanction by the FTC.
“We Suspend Over Half A Million Spam Accounts Every day” – Twitter CEO Reveals
Twitter CEO, Parag Agrawal has revealed that Twitter suspends over half a million spam accounts on the site every day.
In a series of tweets, the tech guru discussed extensively on the issue of Spam, how the impacts have affected human work, and how the company works extensively to solve them.
This comes barely three days after Investors King reported the reasons Parag sacked top Twitter officers.
“First, let me state the obvious: spam harms the experience for real people on Twitter, and therefore can harm our business. As such, we are strongly incentivized to detect and remove as much spam as we possibly can, every single day. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just wrong.
“Next, spam isn’t just ‘binary’ (human / not human). The most advanced spam campaigns use combinations of coordinated humans + automation. They also compromise real accounts, and then use them to advance their campaign. So – they are sophisticated and hard to catch.
“Some final context: fighting spam is incredibly *dynamic*. The adversaries, their goals, and tactics evolve constantly – often in response to our work! You can’t build a set of rules to detect spam today, and hope they will still work tomorrow. They will not
“We suspend over half a million spam accounts every day, usually before any of you even see them on Twitter. We also lock millions of accounts each week that we suspect may be spam – if they can’t pass human verification challenges (captchas, phone verification, etc),” he tweeted.
Further emphasizing on the challenge the team encounters, Parag said: “many accounts that seem like spam are real accounts and they cause the most damage to other users. In retrospect to that, the team updates the systems and rules constantly to remove as much spam as possible, without inadvertently suspending real people or adding unnecessary friction for real people when they use Twitter”.
He added that the use of private data is particularly important to avoid misclassifying users who are actually real.
“FirstnameBunchOfNumbers with no profile pic and odd tweets might seem like a bot or spam to you, but behind the scenes we often see multiple indicators that it’s a real person”, he said.
Twitter CEO Supports Elon Musk’s Decision To Suspend Takeover
Chief Executive Officer, Twitter, Parag Agrawal has supported the decision of Elon Musk to place the takeover of Twitter on hold. Parag Agrawal, in his tweet, supported the result of the Twitter report on spam accounts at less than five percent of users.
Investors King recalls that Elon Musk had said he would place the Twitter takeover on hold following the report by the company on fake/spam accounts.
Analysts have speculated that Musk may be looking for ways to renegotiate the price of the deal or walk away. Their findings erupted further on Monday after Bloomberg reported that Musk had said at a tech conference that a deal at a lower price was “not out of the question.” He also said spam accounts might be four times Twitter’s claims, according to the report.
However, Mr Agrawal defended the firm’s count, saying he would discuss the issue with data and facts. He explained that the company used a combination of public and private data to determine which accounts were real, reviewing random samples every few months. He added that Twitter suspended roughly 500,000 suspect accounts daily and locked millions more.
“Let’s talk about spam. And let’s do so with the benefit of data, facts, and context. Unfortunately, we don’t believe that this specific estimation can be performed externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can’t share). Externally, it’s not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAUs on any given day.
“There are LOTS of details that are very important underneath this high-level description. We shared an overview of the estimation process with Elon a week ago and look forward to continuing the conversation with him, and all of you.
“The margins of error are well within its estimate of spam accounts representing less than five percent of daily users,” Mr Agrawal said.
However, the stock market, which has seen weeks of turmoil wipe billions off the value of many companies, remains skeptical that the deal will go through as outlined.
The price of a Twitter share has fallen below $38, sliding more on Monday after Mr Agrawal’s tweets. This is less than the price of the stock before Mr Musk revealed his interest in the company and well below the $54.20 per share he has offered.
Twitter’s board approved the takeover last month, but the deal was not expected to be completed for months.
An analyst at Wedbush Securities, Dan Ives said that a major fall in Tesla shares- which were critical to Mr Musk’s financing of the deal – and wider market declines have caused Musk to get “cold feet”.
Dan said while he expects the deal to close, there is a need to be prepared for all scenarios and always do what’s right for Twitter.
Economy4 weeks ago
The Diplomatic Cold War South Africa is Fighting With Nigeria – Rooted in Xenophobia?
Nigerian Exchange Limited3 weeks ago
Stock Market Declined Marginally on Tuesday
Markets3 weeks ago
Bear Market Rally Back On?
Banking Sector3 weeks ago
FirstBank: Leveraging Digital Banking Solutions For Excellent Performance
Finance4 weeks ago
11th Swiss Payment Forum: Our Future in the Metaverse
Crude Oil4 weeks ago
Brent Crude Oil Extends Decline to $94, Nigeria Revenue to Drop
Markets4 weeks ago
The Ship Has Sailed
Banking Sector3 weeks ago
Zenith Bank Holds Seminar on Non-Oil Export to Deepen Nigeria’s Growth