Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said on Wednesday it was “the right decision” to permanently suspend President Donald Trump — even though he had concerns about the “dangerous” precedent the ban sets.
In a lengthy thread, Dorsey said he did not “celebrate or feel pride” in having to ban Trump, but that the decision was made based on “threats to physical safety both on and off 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,” Dorsey wrote. “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.”
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“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,” Dorsey continued.
But the Twitter CEO rejected arguments that Trump’s subsequent suspensions and bans from nearly all of the major social media platforms — including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitch — was a “coordinated” effort.
“More likely: companies came to their own conclusions or were emboldened by the actions of others,” Dorsey wrote. “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.”
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“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,” Dorsey concluded. “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.”
Read Dorsey’s full thread here.
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?
— jack (@jack) January 14, 2021