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Jack Dorsey returned in a series of tweets to his platform’s recent decision to ban US President Donald Trump. In particular, he shares his thoughts on the power that a company like Twitter has over public debate.
After the action, it’s time for introspection. Twitter founder and boss Jack Dorsey considers the decision to ban Donald Trump from the platform “the right one”, but nonetheless constitutes a “failure” and “sets a precedent” which he considers “dangerous” vis-à-vis the power held by big business.
It is a “failure on our part to promote a healthy conversation”, he tweeted, Wednesday, January 13, in a series of messages in which he returns to the decision of the social network to banish the outgoing president indefinitely. United for having encouraged the violence of the Capitol.
This kind of measure “divides us. They limit the possibilities to explain, to redeem, to learn,” he continued. “And it sets a precedent that I think is dangerous: the power that an individual or business has over part of the global public conversation.”
Twitter was the Republican billionaire’s main communication tool, who used it on a daily basis to directly address his 88 million subscribers. He was also suspended from Facebook, Snapchat, Twitch and, since Tuesday, YouTube for a week.
But the tweet network’s decision is by far the most iconic. The ostracization of the head of state has been hailed by many elected officials, but it has also drawn criticism from associations and leaders like Chancellor Angela Merkel, concerned about the power of technology companies.
Jack Dorsey points out that the balance of power was respected as long as “people could just go to another service if our rules and our application of the rules did not suit them.” But “this concept was challenged last week when a number of essential Internet tool providers also decided not to host what they found dangerous,” he admits. “I don’t think it was coordinated. More likely: the companies came to their own conclusions or were encouraged by the actions of others.”
Twitter and its neighbors in Silicon Valley have been in the crosshairs of US authorities for months. Elected officials from both sides reproach them for their omnipotence, both in terms of economic competition and in terms of data and public debate.