Twitter CEO breaks silence on ban on Trump, says he doesn't feel proud

Updated on Jan 14, 2021 07:11 AM IST

It was a failure on part of Twitter, Jack admitted in the long Twitter thread he posted, explaining how he feels about banning Trump permanently on the site.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey issued a statement on banning Donald Trump's account.(REUTERS)
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey issued a statement on banning Donald Trump's account.(REUTERS)
Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh

For the first time after imposing a permanent ban on US outgoing president Donald Trump, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey broke his silence on the contentious move and said that he was not proud of the action as it has been a failure of the microblogging site to promote healthy conversation. But it was the right decision for Twitter, he said.

Defending the decision, Jack wrote that the action was taken only after a clear warning and the decision was made with the best information on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter.

Also Read: Twitter permanently suspends Donald Trump's account

But now that the action of the tech company has triggered a debate over freedom of expression, he took it on himself to explain why it was the right decision.

Here is what he said in his statement.

"I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here. 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. That said, having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications. While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation. And a time for us to reflect on our operations and the environment around us.

"Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation. They divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption, and learning. And sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation. The check and accountability on this power has always been the fact that a service like Twitter is one small part of the larger public conversation happening across the internet. If folks do not agree with our rules and enforcement, they can simply go to another internet service. This concept was challenged last week when a number of foundational internet tool providers also decided not to host what they found dangerous. I do not believe this was coordinated. More likely: companies came to their own conclusions or were emboldened by the actions of others.

"This moment in time might call for this dynamic, but over the long term, it will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet. A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same. Yes, we all need to look critically at inconsistencies of our policy and enforcement. Yes, we need to look at how our service might incentivize distraction and harm. Yes, we need more transparency in our moderation operations. All this can’t erode a free and open global internet.

Also Read: Twitter suspends Trump's campaign account @TeamTrump for violating its rules

"The reason I have so much passion for #Bitcoin is largely because of the model it demonstrates: a foundational internet technology that is not controlled or influenced by any single individual or entity. This is what the internet wants to be, and over time, more of it will be. We are trying to do our part by funding an initiative around an open decentralized standard for social media. Our goal is to be a client of that standard for the public conversation layer of the internet. We call it @bluesky.

"This will take time to build. We are in the process of interviewing and hiring folks, looking at both starting a standard from scratch or contributing to something that already exists. No matter the ultimate direction, we will do this work completely through public transparency. It’s important that we acknowledge this is a time of great uncertainty and struggle for so many around the world. 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."

Twitter, the San Francisco-based company, first suspended Donald Trump's account after he posted tweets misleading users about the presidential election results, which apparently encouraged the mob violence at US Capitol. After his account was restored, he tweeted that he would not attend President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration which Twitter said violated the company's policies when "read in the context of broader events in the country".

It was then that Twitter decided to ban Trump completely on the platform citing "risk of further incitement of violence".

The action evoked strong reaction from other world leaders most of whom concurred that social media platforms should be accountable.

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said private social media companies make their own moderation decisions, but they should be accountable.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reservations about the way Donald Trump's Twitter account was suspended, her spokesman said, adding that legislators, not private companies, should decide on any necessary curbs to free expression.

Addressing these concerns, Jack in his statement endorsed the way Bitcoin functions — a technology that is not controlled or influenced by any single individual or entity.

Twitter's 'BlueSky' initiative may lead Twitter to a Bitcoin-like operation, Jack said. In 2019, Jack first talked about 'Blue Sky' which is aimed at developing an open and decentralised standard for social media. Twitter is in the process of interviewing and hiring people for Blue Sky, he said in his statement.

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