(CNN Business) — Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended his company’s decision to suspend President Donald Trump’s account, while acknowledging that the move stems from his inability to promote “healthy” conversations. Dorsey said Twitter’s decision sets a “dangerous” precedent.
“I think this was the right decision for Twitter,” Dorsey said in a series of 13 publications on its platform, citing “extraordinary and unsustainable” circumstances after Trump incited a riot in the US Capitol last week, an event that forced the social media company to “focus all of our actions on public safety.” .
“I’m not celebrating or proud of having to suspend @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here,” Dorsey said. “The offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and it is what drives our policy and compliance above all.”
For the past four years, Twitter was pivotal to the Trump presidency, a development that also benefited the company in the form of countless hours of user engagement. Twitter took a light approach to moderating its account, often arguing that, as a public official, Trump should have broad freedom to speak. But the disturbances at the Capitol led to his account being suspended.
Dorsey dealt with the implications of the decision in her posts, admitting that “having to suspend an account has real and significant ramifications.” Deleting users, he said, fragments the public conversation and divides people.
“While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I believe that a suspension is our ultimate failure to promote healthy conversation. And a moment for us to reflect on our operations and the environment that surrounds us, “he said.
Twitter wasn’t the only one to suspend Trump, so did other networks
The CEO of Twitter also addressed similar actions taken by other social media companies, such as Facebook and Snapchat, which suspended the president’s accounts. These actions were not coordinated, Dorsey said, but they present a challenge for the tech industry.
“Control and responsibility for this power has always been the fact that a service like Twitter is a small part of the larger public conversation that takes place on the Internet,” he said. “If people don’t agree to our rules and compliance, they can just go to another internet service.”
“This concept was challenged last week when several key Internet tool providers also decided not to host what they considered dangerous,” he continued.
Amazon wiped out Parler, a platform favored by the far right, when it canceled its web hosting contract.
The decision to exclude the president from Twitter had immediate consequences: Trump lost access to more than 88 million followers and the move exposed the company to censorship complaints from Republicans. Democrats criticized the role of social media in empowering Trump and warned of new legislation to regulate the tech industry.
Dorsey suggested in his posts that tech industry actions could also have longer-term implications.
“This current moment may require this dynamic, but in the long run it will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open Internet. A company that makes the decision to moderate is different from a government that eliminates access, but it can feel the same, ”said Dorsey.
“Yes, we must all critically analyze the inconsistencies in our policy and its application. Yes, we need to look at how our service might incentivize distraction and harm. Yes, we need more transparency in our moderation operations. All of this cannot erode a free and open global Internet, “he added.
– Brian Fung contributed reporting.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism