Android creator and disgraced former Google executive Andy Rubin has gone on some type of bizarre Twitter blocking spree, blocking virtually everyone who follows him on the site. Rubin now only has eight followers on the site, down from 11 on Wednesday.
Rubin’s account is additionally set to protected, meaning all of his tweets can now only be viewed by those eight other accounts. It’s also difficult to determine who those remaining followers might be, as the protected status means they can’t be identified through his profile. According to Business Insider, activity-tracking bot Big Tech Alert shows that Rubin has blocked former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, chief of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project David Marcus, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. That’s along with 117,000 others that were following Rubin’s account as of mid-September.
One reason why Rubin might feel the need to go off the radar is obvious: After he left Google, it became public knowledge that he got the boot over credible allegations he had an extramarital affair with a subordinate and coerced her into oral sex.
Rubin also walked away with a $US90 ($131) million exit package, spurring massive employee protests at what was widely seen as Google going well out of its way to shield Rubin from any consequences. (It also didn’t help that Google staffers involved in organising a walkout said they were retaliated against, while court documents in his divorce proceedings contained further claims like Rubin operating a “sex ring.”) The allegations have overshadowed all of Rubin’s subsequent work, such as his new company Essential and its Project Gem phone.
As Business Insider noted, even a quick search for Rubin’s handle on the site shows he’s been the target of invective on Twitter for quite some time (and deservedly so; he is not the victim here). So it’s possible Rubin finally concluded he couldn’t take it anymore and fled the site. That said, it’s also possible this is part of some ill-advised publicity stunt or that Rubin’s account was hacked—in which case the phrase “couldn’t happen to a nicer guy” absolutely does not apply.
Notably, a deadline for a shareholder investigation into the misconduct allegations by Google’s holding company Alphabet was set to expire on Dec. 13 before being extended on Thursday, after the blocking spree had begun. The Register Citizen reported on Friday that Rubin had for the second time slashed the asking price for his on-sale Silicon Valley mansion to $US24.6 ($36) million, down from his original ask of $US34.6 ($50) million last year.
Gizmodo has sent a follow request to Rubin’s account, and we’ll update this post in the exceptionally unlikely event he approves it.