Speaking earlier this evening at Recode’s Code Commerce conference, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey said that his feelings are “complicated” when it comes to President-elect Donald Trump’s activity on Twitter.
When Recode executive editor Kara Swisher asked Dorsey whether he felt responsible for Donald Trump being elected the next US president, Dorsey responded:
America is responsible for Donald Trump being president. He’s known how to use it for quite some time. I think it’s an important time for the company and service. And having the president-elect on our service — using it as a direct line of communication — allows everyone to see what’s on his mind in the moment. I think that’s interesting. I think it’s fascinating. I haven’t seen that before. We’re definitely entering a new world where everything is on the surface and we can all see it in real time and we can have conversations about it. Where does that go? I’m not really sure. But it’s definitely been fascinating to learn from.
Swisher pressed Dorsey, asking him how he feels about it.
“Complicated,” Dorsey replied. “I feel very proud of the role of the service and what it stands for and everything that we’ve done, and that continues to accelerate every single day. Especially as it’s had such a spotlight on it through his usage and through the election.”
“We’re entering a new world where everything is on the surface.”
Donald Trump’s very frequent, often controversial, occasionally late-night, and not-always-accurate tweets have been one of the president-elect’s primary forms of communication throughout his presidential campaign and during this transition period before he officially takes office. Some have gone as far as calling Trump the “first Twitter president.” In the days leading up to the US presidential election, it was even reported that members of Trump’s campaign staff had temporarily denied him access to Twitter to avoid last-minute volatile or controversial tweets.
At the same time, Twitter has come under fire for not offering adequate tools or responses around abusive tweets; and Twitter, along with Facebook and Google, are caught up in a post-election firestorm in which the social media sites’ responsibilities around “fake news” and general misinformation are being hotly debated.
Dorsey seemed eager to move on from the Trump topic and talk about Square, his company that’s focused on payment processing, and concluded with this:
We certainly play a big part in distributing news and opinions and what people think about what’s going on in the world. We have a role and responsibility to make sure that people are seeing what they need to see and they can have easy conversations and really get to the truth. And that’s complicated. So we’re learning as quickly as we can, and that’s the complicated part. We have to learn even faster now.