Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, in a series of Tweets, explained that he felt banning US President Donald Trump’s account was the right move for the social network. “Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all,” he wrote.
Dorsey blamed Twitter’s failure “to promote healthy conversation,” acknowledged that Twitter needs to “look critically at inconsistencies of our policy and enforcement,” and said that social platforms needed more transparency around moderation.
Then, Dorsey plugged an effort to build a decentralized standard for social media he began in 2019 when he sought to hire five engineers to work on it. That’s how, eight tweets into a thread on why his company banned Donald Trump, the CEO of Twitter managed to change the subject to his passion for bitcoin.
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
Five days ago, Twitter permanently banned Trump’s account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” the company said in a statement. The ban was instated two days after the president incited a mob broke into the US Capitol to disrupt Congress, which was certifying Joe Biden’s election win. When Twitter banned him, they said two of his tweets incited more violence. Trump was also banned indefinitely by Facebook that day. Yesterday, YouTube suspended his account. Today, the president was banned from Snapchat as well.
Banning the RealDonaldTrump Twitter account had “real and significant ramifications,” Dorsey wrote. Dorsey said that the widespread suspension of the president by many platforms challenged the notion that if people didn’t like Twitter’s rules, they could simply go somewhere else. And though the president can issue a press release or call a press conference whenever he wishes — or simply go on television — Dorsey expressed concern that the enforcement actions might “erode a free and open global internet.”
And that was when bitcoin came up. Dorsey is also CEO of Square, an internet payment company, that bought $50 million of bitcoin as part of a bet on cryptocurrency. Square has accepted bitcoin since 2014. According to Dorsey, bitcoin provides a model for a decentralized model for social media. Dorsey did not elaborate on how such a network might address Twitter’s failures in moderation, creating healthy conversations, or provide for more consistent policy enforcment.
“It’s important that we acknowledge this is a time of great uncertainty and struggle for so many around the world,” Dorsey wrote on Twitter. “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. I believe the internet and global public conversation is our best and most relevant method of achieving this.”
Although Jack Dorsey first proposed the decentralized social media standard he calls “bluesky” in December 2019, today he wrote that Twitter is still “in the process of interviewing and hiring folks.”