Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended his company’s ban of President Donald Trump in a Twitter thread that is his first public statement on the subject.
When Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol last week, Dorsey said Twitter faced an “extraordinary and untenable circumstance.”
Having already briefly suspended Trump’s account the day of the riot, Twitter on Friday banned the president permanently, then smacked down his attempts to tweet using other accounts.
“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban [Donald Trump] from Twitter,” Dorsey wrote. But he added: “I believe this was the right decision for Twitter.”
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
Dorsey acknowledged that the Trump ban sets a dangerous precedent, even calling it a sign of “failure.”
The ban highlights the extraordinary power that individuals and Big Tech corporations can wield over the “global public conversation,” Dorsey wrote.
He also acknowledged that Twitter users who in the past could have left the platform in favor of an alternative service suddenly found themselves without recourse last week.
While Twitter was grappling with Trump, for instance, Apple, Google and Amazon were effectively shutting down the right-wing site Parler by denying it access to app stores and other internet services.
The companies argued that Parler wasn’t aggressive enough in removing calls to violence, which Parler has denied.
“This moment in time might call for this dynamic,” Dorsey wrote, “but over the long term it will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet.”
The Twitter founder, however, had little to say about how his platform or other Big Tech companies could avoid such choices in the future.
Instead, he touched on an idea that sounds a bit like the end of Twitter itself — a long-term project to develop an “open decentralized standard for social media.”
Dorsey said that Twitter’s goal “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.”
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