Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged in a statement on Wednesday evening that his company’s decision to ban President Donald Trump from the platform set a “dangerous” precedent and said that it was ultimately a “failure” by the company to “promote healthy conversation.”
Dorsey’s remarks come after the company has taken a hit in its value since banning the president last week, following a riot that broke out at the U.S. Capitol.
“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,” Dorsey wrote. “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,” he continued. “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 claimed that the company did not coordinate with other tech companies with its decision to ban the president and that other companies either made their own choices 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,” he said. “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.”
“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,” Dorsey continued. “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.”
While some, especially left-wing journalists, praised Dorsey’s statement, others criticized it and pointed to how the platform has repeatedly been accused of not equally enforcing its policies.
A lot more people would be supportive of banning Trump from Twitter if the rule was even remotely close to being enforced consistently. No excuse for allowing literal terrorists, but banning Trump. https://t.co/gVz2n1TINK
— Caleb Hull (I'm With the CCP Don't Ban Me) (@CalebJHull) January 14, 2021
Whether or not such policies are consistently enforced is just as important as whether or not this call was the correct one. https://t.co/qrsrhJiiSh
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) January 14, 2021
— Mark Krikorian (@MarkSKrikorian) January 14, 2021
Twitter CEO tries to explain decision to ban Trump. Says he had to do it, but concedes move 'sets a precedent I feel is dangerous.' https://t.co/tKCy486T1b
— Byron York (@ByronYork) January 14, 2021
This thread is a lie but also, we are not asking you to get rid of your own community standards. We simply wish them to be applied equally. You and the rest of us know they are not. #Equality https://t.co/EHKgLgH0QE
— Kira (@RealKiraDavis) January 14, 2021
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