Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended his company’s decision to suspend the President’s account but admitted that the Trump ban set a dangerous precedent. The remarks came after the social media company suffered a drop in share prices throughout the week following their decision.
Right Decision For Twitter
Dorsey wrote: “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. 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.”
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Dorsey continued “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. Having to take these actions to 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.”
Twitter Decided On Its Own
“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,” Dorsey explained. He added that Twitter needs to look critically at policy and enforcement inconsistencies, at how it incentivizes distraction and harm. Dorsey also said the company needs more transparency in its moderation operations. “All this can’t erode a free and open global internet,” he noted.
Dorsey compared the ongoing debate with his liking for cryptocurrency Bitcoin. He said that Bitcoin’s technology remains independent from control or influence from any individual or organization. He hopes the speech issues surrounding Twitter and other social media follows this path. “This is what the internet wants to be, and over time, more of it will be,” he said. “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.”
Fallout From the Ban
Days after the Trump ban, Twitter and fellow social media titan Facebook and Twitter lost a combined $67 billion in market value this week. Twitter alone fell 9.3% as of Thursday from its January 8 price of $52.50. Its market cap shrank from $40.94B to 36.41B during the same period. Meanwhile, Facebook, who also slapped Trump with a permanent ban for the same reasons, lost $62.47B in market cap as of Thursday’s close. The stock price of Facebook, which closed at $367.57 last January 8, is now at $245.64.
During the week, both Twitter and Facebook did manage to recover some lost ground. At the same time, financial firms have yet to issue downgrades or lowered price targets. The market could interpret these plunges as temporary and more reactionary than systemic losses. In contrast, investors celebrated Apple, Amazon, and Google experienced upticks in stock prices when they announced their cutting of ties with social media app Parler. Apple and Google removed Parler from the app stores, while Amazon ceased hosting Parler on their web servers.
International Backlash for Twitter
Twitter also caught flak from a number of countries, including those critical to Trump. Leaders from Germany and France found it problematic for a social media company to ban an elected president. Even Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who is critical of Trump, called the ban “an unacceptable act of censorship.”
Watch the CNBC news video where Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey speaks out on banning President Donald Trump:
Given Jack Dorsey’s admission that they set a dangerous precedent, should Twitter reinstate President Trump’s account? Let us know what you think about Twitter and the Trump ban they did. Share your thought by commenting below.