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‘I believe this was the right decision for Twitter,’ says CEO on Trump ban

Himani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on January 14, 2021 Published on January 14, 2021

Jack Dorsey felt the ban was ‘a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation’, time to ‘reflect on our operations and the environment around us’

Twitter Inc’s Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey on Thursday broke his silence on the platform’s ban on United States President Donald Trump stating that it was the right decision to make.

In a statement posted in the form of a Twitter thread, Dorsey defended the platform’s decision.

“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,” wrote the Twitter CEO.

Also read: YouTube suspends Trump’s channel after violating policy on inciting violence

“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,” he said.

He further said that a ban was the platform’s failure to promote “healthy conversation” and talked about the platform’s policy and said that it was time for Twitter to “reflect” on its operations.

“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 said.

“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,” he further said.

“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,” he further 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 incentivise distraction and harm. Yes, we need more transparency in our moderation operations. All this can’t erode a free and open global internet,” he added.

The Twitter CEO then went on to talk about an open-source initiative around an open decentralised standard for social media called Blue Sky that Twitter is funding.

“We are trying to do our part by funding an initiative around an open decentralised 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,” said Dorsey.

Twitter last week permanently suspended the account of United States President Donald Trump due to the “risk of further violence.”

“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter had said in a blog post.

Also read: Twitter sans Trump tumbles; other tech shares follow suit

Multiple social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat had taken action against Trump’s account after Trump supporters stormed US Capitol Hill on January 6.

Dozens of pro-Trump protesters had swarmed the US Capitol on Wednesday, disrupting a session to certify the results of the US Presidential elections and calling on lawmakers to undo Trump’s loss, as per media reports.

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Published on January 14, 2021
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