Vijaya Gadde, the legal, policy, and trust and safety lead at Twitter, is at the center of the company’s decision to fact check President Donald Trump and has donated to Democrats, as well as exhibited strong anti-Trump bias in her own posts to the platform.
Twitter’s decision to fact check Trump’s tweet on mail-in balloting engendered severe controversy.
On May 26, Twitter added a “fact check” label to a pair of tweets from President Trump expressing widely-held concerns about mail-in ballots increasing the risk of voter fraud. The “fact check” link, which urged users to “get the facts about mail-in ballots,” directed users to a Twitter “moment” — a collection of links and tweets, handpicked by Twitter employees.
The “moment,” intended to fact-check the President, was filled with establishment media articles from CNN, the Washington Post and other outlets, baselessly asserting that Trump was lying about mail-in ballots. This is reportedly the first time the social media platform has branded Trump’s tweets with a link to a “fact check” of this type.
Breitbart News’ Joel Pollak reported that Yoel Roth, the Twitter official responsible for fact-checking policy, tweeted that members of the Trump administration are “Nazis.”
Roth also encouraged people to “fly over” states that allegedly “voted for a racist tangerine.”
Gadde defended Roth after Trump supporters went on the “attack” against Roth.
She said, “No one person at Twitter is responsible for our policies or enforcement actions. We are a team with different points of view and we stand behind our people and our decisions to protect the health of the public conversation on our platform.”
No one person at Twitter is responsible for our policies or enforcement actions. We are a team with different points of view and we stand behind our people and our decisions to protect the health of the public conversation on our platform. #OneTeam https://t.co/Jbav8pyAcE
— Vijaya Gadde (@vijaya) May 27, 2020
However, according to her tweets and the FEC donation database, Gadde has a pro-Democrat bias herself.
Gadde has donated:
- $500 to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign.
- Over $1,750 to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
- $2,700 to Sen. Kamala Harris’ 2016 Senate campaign.
- $2,700 to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
- $500 to Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s (D-WI) 2018 Senate campaign.
- $2,700 to Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign.
At a Washington Post event in San Francisco, California, in March 2019, Gadde revealed Twitter’s initiative to fact check, or “annotate,” tweets that “break its rules but remain in the public interest.”
“One of the things we’re working really closely on with our product and engineering folks is, ‘How can we label that?'” Gadde said at the Post event. “How can we put some context around it so people are aware that that content is actually a violation of our rules and it is serving a particular purpose in remaining on the platform.”
Gadde said that without fact-checking information Twitter’s platform, it implies that the content is allowed by the company’s safety standard.
She said, “when we leave that content on the platform, there’s no context around that, and it just lives on Twitter, and people can see it, and they just assume that is the type of content or behavior that’s allowed by our rules.”
She added that “there are other types of content that we believe are newsworthy or in the public interest that people may want to have a conversation around.”
A Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider this week that the decision to “fact check” tweets was made by “leadership,” which would suggest that Gadde along with Safety VP Del Harvey and CEO Jack Dorsey were involved in the decision to label offensive but newsworthy posts.
Further, Gadde has tweeted against Trump.
Gadde quoted a New York Times post, writing, “I’ve never met a national politician, in the U.S. who is so ill-informed, evasive, puerile and deceptive as Trump.”
"I’ve never met a national politician in the U.S. who is so ill informed, evasive, puerile and deceptive as Trump." https://t.co/Wv1tXKGWAF
— Vijaya Gadde (@vijaya) March 27, 2016
Gadde also attacked then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his opening statement in 2018.
“i’m shocked by the lack of respect in this opening statement,” Gadde wrote. “even if he’s angry, i would expect a show of judicial temperament. this sounds like a political attack. dr. ford was respectful at every moment.”
i'm shocked by the lack of respect in this opening statement. even if he's angry, i would expect a show of judicial temperament. this sounds like a political attack.
dr. ford was respectful at every moment.
— Vijaya Gadde (@vijaya) September 27, 2018
“This isn’t a trial. It’s a hearing to determine if he’s fit to be a supreme court justice. Judicial temperament and impartiality are important qualifications for that role,” she wrote. “Do you disagree with those being important qualifications?”
This isn't a trial. It's a hearing to determine if he's fit to be a supreme court justice. Judicial temperament and impartiality are important qualifications for that role. Do you disagree with those being important qualifications?
— Vijaya Gadde (@vijaya) September 27, 2018
Gadde posted in 2014 that it was “such an honor to meet Hillary Clinton. Amazing talk at Twitter — full of great advice and inspiration!”
— Vijaya Gadde (@vijaya) July 22, 2014
Perhaps ironically, Gadde shared a quote from Chinese artist and dissident, writing, “The most elegant way to adjust to censorship is to engage in self-censorship.”
— Vijaya Gadde (@vijaya) May 7, 2017
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.