Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey issued a warning Wednesday night on the “destructive” consequences of widespread social media bans nearly a week after his company announced a permanent suspension of President Trump’s Twitter account.
“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here,” Dorsey tweeted in a 13-post thread. “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?”
Twitter said the ban of the outgoing president was “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
The social media giant cited two messages Trump tweeted on the same day as the attack on Capitol Hill by pro-Trump rioters, with the president pushing claims of widespread voter fraud and encouraging his supporters to “never concede.”
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots,” Trump wrote in a since-deleted tweet.
Since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, eight other social media platforms have announced suspensions, some permanent, of Trump’s accounts, including Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Reddit, and Twitch.
Dorsey said the decision to ban Trump represented “a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation.”
The check and accountability on this power has always been the fact that a service like Twitter is one small part of the larger public conversation happening across the internet. If folks do not agree with our rules and enforcement, they can simply go to another internet service.
— jack (@jack) January 14, 2021
“Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation. They divide us,” Dorsey wrote. “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.”
Dorsey acknowledged that the near-simultaneous bans on Trump across multiple platforms was likely not a coordinated effort but cautioned nevertheless that “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.” He advised that content moderation and deplatforming violent rhetoric “can’t erode a free and open global internet.”
In the thread, Dorsey promoted an initiative Twitter announced in 2019 called Bluesky to create a decentralized platform for Twitter in the same way that Bitcoin relies on open-source software to maintain and verify.
The reason I have so much passion for #Bitcoin is largely because of the model it demonstrates: a foundational internet technology that is not controlled or influenced by any single individual or entity. This is what the internet wants to be, and over time, more of it will be.
— jack (@jack) January 14, 2021
“It’s important that we acknowledge this is a time of great uncertainty and struggle for so many around the world,” Dorsey tweeted. “Our goal in this moment is to disarm as much as we can, and ensure we are all building towards a greater common understanding, and a more peaceful existence on earth.”
The Washington Examiner reached out to Dorsey for further comment.