Now that Twitter has refused to ban anti-Semitic and racist Louis Farrakhan for calling Jews “termites,” but has suspended permanently conservatives like “Gay Patriot” and shadowbanned conservative congressmen such as Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Devin Nunes, (R-CA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL), it would be interesting to ask Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey if the 2012 statement from his UK general manager quoting Dorsey that Twitter tried to be “neutral” and was the “free speech wing of the free speech party” was accurate or if it now smells of rank hypocrisy,
Wait — someone indeed asked Dorsey that question on Tuesday, and Dorsey said the quote wasn’t either accurate or hypocritical: it was a joke.
As Newsbusters reports, Dorsey was interviewed before a “Wired 25” audience by Wired Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Thompson and asked about the 2012 quote from then-Twitter UK General Manager Tony Chang, who had said, “Generally, we remain neutral as to the content because our general counsel and CEO like to say that we are the free speech wing of the free speech party,”
Dorsey said, “This quote around ‘free speech wing of the free speech party’ was never, was never a mission of the company. It was never a descriptor of the company that we gave ourselves. It was a, it was a joke. Because of how people found themselves in the spectrum.
Thompson persisted, “It was a joke that people took seriously and their respect for you increased because of it at the time.”
Dorsey answered, “Well, I mean I don’t think it takes away from our defense of freedom of expression and freedom of speech. But we were not absolute absolutists because we building a purely neutral platform versus building an impartial platform that is actually, you know, a lot of people come to Twitter and they don’t really see an adverse service; they see what kinda looks like a public square. They have the same sort of expectations of a public square.”
Prior to that exchange, Dorsey insisted that he was concerned about the capacity of twitter users to “weaponize” freedom of expression. He stated:
I can speak to our purpose today, we believe, we believe our superpower is around conversation. And we believe our purpose is to serve the public conversation, and that does take a stance around freedom of expression and defending freedom of expression as a fundamental human right, not just one within this country. But it also comes with the realization that freedom of expression may adversely impact other people’s fundamental human rights, such as privacy, such as physical security.
So we believe that we can only serve the public conversation, we can only stand for freedom of expression if people feel safe to express themselves in the first place. We can only do that if they feel that they are not being silenced. So the question we’re starting to ask is what are the tools we’re building? What is their effect on making it easier to weaponize freedom of expression against someone so that they don’t even feel free to express themselves in the first place or ultimately they are silenced, which would go against that goal of serving the public conversation.
As Newsbusters added, “The company has banned doxxing or the involuntary release of personal data on the platform. But violators that attacked conservatives, such as Splinter, get a mere slap on the wrist. At the same time, Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council members based in the U.S. are overwhelmingly liberal.”