Trump Ban Represents a 'Failure — Twitter CEO

Ruben Fields
January 14, 2021

"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 said, addressing the ban on Twitter.

Twitter's decision to permanently suspend Trump is considered overdue by critics who argue he has gotten away with abuses, but has anxious free-speech advocates and drawn criticism from various NGOs and leaders.

US President Donald Trump addresses supporters during a campaign rally at MBS International Airport in Freeland, Michigan on 10 September 2020.

Dorsey also felt the ban was a "failure" of Twitter to "promote healthy conversation".

Twitter banned Trump's personal account two days after a group of the president's followers stormed the U.S. Capitol while Congress was meeting to certify the presidential election results.

Instead the president railed against "the unprecedented assault on free speech" after his own accounts were banned from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Dorsey then argued that banning an account from Twitter divides the public and places too much power in the hands of one corporation.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. "This will take time to build", he said, adding that it is important that the company acknowledges this is a time of great uncertainty and struggle for so many around the world.

Missouri National Guard assisting with security measures in Washington D.C.
By Tuesday evening, Guardsmen who secure the Capitol were authorized to carry lethal weapons. New fencing and other security measures have also been put in place around the building.

Asserting that having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications and while there are clear and obvious exceptions, he said, "I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation".

Trump was impeached by the US House of Representatives on Wednesday for "incitement of insurrection", related to last week's Capitol riots. Twitter is working on a decentralized standard for social media through its bluesky project, and Dorsey hopes it could "be a client of that standard for the public conversation layer of the internet".

"We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now", ACLU senior legislative counsel Kate Ruane said at the time.

Twitter, Facebook, and Snap indefinitely banned Trump after he incited rioters at the US Capitol last week, while Apple, Google, and Amazon all cut ties with far-right social media upstart Parler, reigniting debates over the balance between speech and public safety. "Yes, we need more transparency in our moderation operations", he said.

Referring to the impact of the action against Trump, Dorsey wrote, "Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation". But, he argued: "Over the long term it will be destructive to the noble goal and ideals of the open internet".

Meanwhile, Snapchat confirmed on Wednesday that its indefinite suspension of Trump has been extended to a permanent ban.

But the Twitter co-founder had little specific to say about how Twitter or other Big Tech companies could avoid such choices in the future.

Dorsey rejected the notion that social media giants coordinated efforts, reasoning that it was more likely they each came to the same conclusion about the potential for violence. The company has also issued a "strike" against his account, meaning he can not upload new videos or livestream content for at least a week.

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