Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey did some soul-searching through a series of tweets on one of the most important decisions he has ever been tasked with reaching: the permanent ban of outgoing President Donald Trump’s @realDonaldTrump account.
Dorsey’s 13-tweet thread Wednesday evening went from defending the ban, to lamenting its effects on the public conversation, to touting Bluesky, the initiative aimed at creating an open decentralized standard for social media, which he introduced in December 2019.
He started off with, “I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here. After a clear warning that 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.”
Dorsey than lamented the effects of the ban, calling it a failure on Twitter’s part to promote healthy conversation and saying actions of this sort “fragment the public conversation. They divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption and learning. And they set a precedent that I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.”
He said that while the decision by Twitter and other platforms was prudent in the moment and in the short term, “over the long term, it will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet.”
Building on the open internet theme, he said of 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.”
Dorsey concluded with, “It’s important that we acknowledge this is a time of great uncertainty and struggle for so many around the world. Our goal in this moment is to disarm as much as we can and ensure that we are all building toward a greater common understanding and a more peaceful existence on earth. I believe the internet and global public conversation is our best and most relevant method of achieving this. I also recognize that it does not feel that way today. Everything we learn in this moment will better our effort and push us to be what we are: one humanity working together.”