Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey posted a long thread on the platform with his thoughts on the ban of President Trump, ultimately saying it was the right move.
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, took to the platform on Wednesday to explain why he believes the decision to ban President Donald Trump from the social media service was ultimately the right move. The ban has once again raised concerns about social media’s role in free speech during public discourse, with people divided about whether or not the President should have been banned. Dorsey, being the leader of the company that banned the President from his favorite platform, shed some light on how Twitter came to the decision.
Twitter initially instated a 12-hour lock on the @realDonaldTrump account after the platform deemed that Trump had used his tweets to disperse potentially dangerous misinformation related to the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot. After briefly reinstating the President, Twitter joined platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat in indefinitely banning the commander-in-chief. The platform cited its ‘Glorification of Violence policy’ as the main reason for banning the account, noting that allowing Trump to continue tweeting presented a risk of further incitement of violence.
Five days later, Dorsey made his personal thoughts public. He asserted that it was ultimately the correct choice for Twitter to make, since it was faced with the real possibility of further violence and offline harm if it allowed Trump to keep tweeting. Interestingly, Dorsey also pointed out that having to resort to banning an account like the President’s was a sign that Twitter had ultimately failed to promote healthy conversation on its platform. Essentially, Dorsey seemed to hope that the banning of Trump would be an isolated incident in time, and that Twitter will eventually evolve to a point that it won’t allow a situation like Trump’s to get to a literal point of no return.
I believe this was the right decision for Twitter. We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.
— jack (@jack) January 14, 2021
The Path To Improvement For Twitter After Trump’s Ban
Throughout his 13-tweet thread, Dorsey toed a careful line when discussing the ban. Twitter was within its rights to ban Trump, as the platform does have rules that it has to enforce. People who don’t agree to those rules, he added, have the freedom to take their business to another internet service that better suits them. In fact, before it was effectively removed from the internet, many did exactly that by turning to Parler.
At the same time, Dorsey suggested the ban set a dangerous precedent regarding the power platforms may have over parts of the “global public conversation.” The solution, in Dorsey’s opinion, is to create an “open and decentralized standard for social media” in order for Twitter to try and promote healthy conversation through the construction of open recommendation algorithms. As it turns out, Twitter and Dorsey are funding a project called Bluesky aimed at doing exactly that.
Twitter is funding a small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media. The goal is for Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard. 🧵
— jack (@jack) December 11, 2019
There likely won’t be a perfect answer here, however. No matter what Twitter implements to try and curb the dialogue on its platform in attempts to create a healthier digital environment, there will be anomalies that wreak havoc on the service. It’s unfortunate, but it seems to be inevitable human nature to have the actions of small groups of users on a platform significantly impact the way said platform can operate. Without a doubt, actions to try and simultaneously stop incitement of violence and outright bans from the platform are objectively good. It just seems that Twitter and other social media giants may constantly be between a rock and a hard place: trying to maintain civil communication on their airwaves while not overstepping their boundaries in the name of public conversation.
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