Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says he didn’t revel in permanently banning President Donald Trump from the social media platform last week but that he stands behind his decision.
What You Need To Know
- Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made a series of posts Wednesday night further explaining the decision to ban President Donald Trump from the platform
- Dorsey said he does "not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban" but said the circumstances were "extraordinary and untenable"
- Twitter permanently banned Trump last week, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence"
- Dorsey, however, acknowledged that banning Trump hurts “the public conversation" and that the company needs to take a closer look at the inconsistencies in its content moderation
Dorsey made a series of posts Wednesday night further explaining his decision to ban the president from the platform.
“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here,” Dorsey wrote. “After a clear warning we’d take this action, we made a decision with the best information we had based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter. Was this correct?
“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.”
Twitter booted Trump on Friday, two days after a mob loyal to the president stormed the Capitol. The social media giant cited “the risk of further incitement of violence,” saying that the president’s tweets after the riot were being interpreted by some of his supporters as calls for “to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021.”
Trump had used Twitter to spread false information about widespread election fraud, leading to the insurrection.
Dorsey, however, acknowledged that banning Trump hurts “the public conversation.”
The actions “divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption, and learning,” he wrote. “And sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.”
Dorsey said the “check and accountability” on social media companies have always been that dissatisfied users can move to a different platform. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, however, have also suspended Trump-related accounts. Dorsey said: “I do not believe this was coordinated. More likely: companies came to their own conclusions or were emboldened by the actions of others.”
Twitter has faced a backlash since banning Trump, largely but not exclusively by conservatives. Some have accused the company of having a liberal bias and not consistently enforcing its rules.
The Trump ban prompted many conservative Twitter users to abandon the platform for Parler, a similar service that bills itself as a place where people can “speak freely and express yourself openly without fear of being ‘deplatformed’ for your views.” Parler, however, is now offline after being dropped by web host Amazon Web Services and banned from the Apple and Google app stores because of content threatening violence and concerns about the company’s hands-off moderation practices.
As of Thursday afternoon, Twitter’s stock had fallen $5.64 a share — from $51.48 to $45.84 — since Friday.
Dorsey conceded that his company needs to take a closer look at the inconsistencies in its content moderation. He added that Twitter is funding an initiative that would create a decentralized standard for social media.
“Our goal is to be a client of that standard for the public conversation layer of the internet,” Dorsey wrote.
“It’s important that we acknowledge this is a time of great uncertainty and struggle for so many around the world,” he added. “Our goal in this moment is to disarm as much as we can, and ensure we are all building towards a greater common understanding, and a more peaceful existence on earth.
“I believe the internet and global public conversation is our best and most relevant method of achieving this. I also recognize it does not feel that way today. Everything we learn in this moment will better our effort, and push us to be what we are: one humanity working together.”