Co-founder and former Twitter Inc. Chief Jack Dorsey today aired his views regarding what’s been going on since his friend Elon Musk took over and later started to criticize how Twitter had been moderated.
The former boss said, first and foremost, Twitter is not the company he had in mind when he first created it. He had hoped back then that the platform would be “resilient to corporate and government control” and that moderation would be implemented foremost by “algorithmic choice.” This, he said, didn’t happen.
“This is my fault alone, as I completely gave up pushing for them when an activist entered our stock in 2020,” he said. “I no longer had hope of achieving any of it as a public company with no defense mechanisms (lack of dual-class shares being a key one). I planned my exit at that moment knowing I was no longer right for the company.”
He went to on to say that Twitter became too powerful, that it became too focused on advertising budgets. Like Musk, he said banning former President Donald Trump’s account was wrong, or, perhaps, good for the company but not good for “the internet and society.”
In principle, I don’t believe anyone should own or run Twitter. It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company. Solving for the problem of it being a company, however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.
— jack (@jack) April 26, 2022
Nonetheless, addressing the so-called Twitter Files – Musk’s letting the cat out of the bag regarding Twitter’s moderation policies over the last few years – Dorsey said, “There was no ill intent or hidden agendas, and everyone acted according to the best information we had at the time.”
There were problems, he went on, and he says he takes full responsibility for them. Twitter, he said, should have always been much more transparent about how it moderated, and if that had happened, there might not have been any cause to “reset” the company now – something he gives his full support. His next words were a stark warning of things to come, and probably vindicated those who regularly invoke the term “Orwellian” when writing about moderation and censorship.
“Back to the principles,” he said. “Of course, governments want to shape and control the public conversation, and will use every method at their disposal to do so, including the media. And the power a corporation wields to do the same is only growing. It’s critical that the people have tools to resist this, and that those tools are ultimately owned by the people. Allowing a government or a few corporations to own the public conversation is a path towards centralized control.”
The power should be in the hands of the poster, he said, explaining that if anything should be able to take a post down, it should be the user. Their content should always be “addressable,” he said, and no one should be able to delete it. “Content takedowns and suspensions should not be possible,” he said.
He supports the release of the Twitter Files but says they should have been released “Wikileaks-style.” He believes there’s something we can all learn from them, and blaming or sending threatening messages to Twitter employees, past and present, isn’t going to help anyone. He concluded by saying as a way to support an open Internet; he will donate $1 million to the encrypted messaging app, Signal.
Photo: Twitter/Jack Dorsey
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