Jack Dorsey: Trump’s Twitter account was suspended simply because of ‘public safety’

US Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing on foreign use of social media platforms

I don’t think Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is as “evil” as Mark Zuckerberg. Which isn’t to say that Dorsey is a good person or anything, but there have been many moments where I understand the arguments Dorsey’s made about why certain people get suspended or put on probation, and why other people (or bots) are able to spread disinformation. I guess I’ll defend Dorsey if he continues to grow and evolve Twitter’s policies and if he continues to take “deplatforming Nazis and fascists” to new and exciting heights. So while liberals are tenuously happy about social media companies finally deplatforming terrorists, obviously Republicans are super-concerned about “censorship” and “the First Amendment.” And it is for them that Dorsey decided to spell out where he is with Twitter’s suspension policies.

On the day when President Donald Trump became the first occupant of the Oval Office to be impeached twice, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey spoke out to say that threats to physical safety and the company’s desire to foster “a more peaceful existence on earth” were among the reasons for the social media company’s permanent ban of Trump from the platform. In a Twitter thread on Wednesday, Dorsey said the company was forced to act after long-simmering concerns about the potential for politically motived violence were realized in the horrific siege of the U.S. Capitol by far-right extremists and white supremacist groups on Jan. 6.

“We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety,” Dorsey wrote. “Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all…It’s important that we acknowledge this is a time of great uncertainty and struggle for so many around the world. 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.”

In a nod to the roiling political tensions across the country, Dorsey made a point of stating “I do not celebrate or feel pride in having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here.”

Twitter and other Big Tech giants are caught in the vise grip of the culture wars at present with pressure from all sides to contain the spread of hate and extremist groups online. At the same time, Trump and other conservatives are leveling accusations of censorship at the steps taken by Twitter, Google, Amazon and Apple to limit the information hosting and networking capabilities of niche social platforms a la Parler that have been favored by the far right. Dorsey acknowledged criticism that Twitter’s enforcement policies against hate speech and other problematic posts have been inconsistent over the years.

“Yes, we need to look at how our service might incentivize distraction and harm. Yes, we need more transparency in our moderation operations. All this can’t erode a free and open global internet,” he wrote. Moreover, he conceded that there is danger in private companies flexing great power over the nation’s communications infrastructure. Dorsey lamented that the Trump ban “sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public 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,” Dorsey wrote. “If folks do not agree with our rules and enforcement, they can simply go to another internet service.”

[From Variety]

“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.” This is true – if you’re a Nazi and you just got suspended from Twitter, there are other places to go to spread and foster hate. And that’s the larger problem, beyond Dorsey’s qualms, which frankly will look quaint when all is said and done. I don’t think private companies need to apologize for doing more than the American government to protect people from terrorism and fascistic threats. The larger conversation we’re having about speech, censorship and deplatforming hate are all important conversations to have. But in the very immediate sense, Dorsey (and other social media executives) understood the very real threat coming from Trump and his Nazi army and they reacted how they should, especially since Trump was STILL threatening people even after he incited a terrorist attack, and since those social media sites were being used to plan additional attacks.

Trump Daily Coronavirus Press Briefing

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29 Responses to “Jack Dorsey: Trump’s Twitter account was suspended simply because of ‘public safety’”

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  1. Eleonora says:

    I thought it was common knowledge that when you break the rules of a website, you can get suspended/banned.

    There are websites that suspend people because you posts a link to a competing website.

    Trump fans just like to act like victims.

    • Becks1 says:

      I mean heck, you can get banned from Celebitchy for violating the terms of service, and every time you leave a comment (not a reply like this one, but a new comment) there’s a reminder of the basic rules and what will get you banned immediately. I dont think any of us consider Celebitchy to be violating our right to free speech.

      • Celebitchy says:

        Oh I get told we’re violating free speech all the time but I also sleep easy knowing that we’re not a platform for hate and trolls.

      • Noki says:

        I have had a couple of name changes too when i thought i was perfectly within the rules 🤐🤣

      • Eleonora says:

        @Celebitchy, any time people who are not crazy far rightists want to discuss something online, it gets overrun by said rightists. They throw around lies and demand proof for everything while then ignoring any proof you bring while they themselves link a tweet from some weirdo as a “source”.

        Your website, your rules.

    • Sofia says:

      When you sign up to a website (any website where you can post comments or so), you sign up to their terms of service that are in the terms and conditions (that no one really reads). A lot of them will also have a line that says “we reserve the right to moderate at our discretion/remove things”

      • (The OG) Jan90067 says:

        I just got suspended from Twitter yesterday for citing/posting the *actual* US penal code that states the penalty for Treason/Sedition is the death penalty, and that the Seditionists deserve what they get. I got an email saying I was “threatening to harm people”… I mean WTAF??? Posting a US Penal Code is harm??? But what Trump did for FIVE YEARS (more actually, if you take it back around the “Birther” stuff) was perfectly alright.

        I appealed, but I’m sure I can kiss my 9200 followers goodbye.

    • Megan2 says:

      I agree that everyone who is whining about their free speech being impinged by Twitter/Facebook/Social Media are basically just self-victimizing at this point. But I also think that maybe that’s not the real reason they are so upset.

      As has been pointed out numerous times, they are still able to speak on camera, via news conferences, on the house floor, etc. The problem they truly have is that when they speak in those forums, they know that a)there is now hard proof of what they are saying and b)they can actually be held accountable via follow-up questions, being called out in real time, etc.

      On Twitter and Social Media, they could circumvent that. Drop an incendiary tweet and walk away from it; you don’t even have to check responses because you know your followers will line up to bully anyone who fact checks or disagrees with you. PLUS, they can say “it’s just social media, it’s not like I said it through any ‘official’ channels”. PLUS PLUS, if the reaction is really bad, they can delete the tweet and claim they were hacked, and then simply walk away from it like it never happened.
      Not to mention how many times members of Congress and the Senate have been asked about something Trump tweeted and their official response was “I don’t follow Twitter.”

      Now, all of their incitement, violent rhetoric, lies, insane conspiracy theories… they’re going to have to start communicating those through official, verifiable sources and they know it’s going to drag them all into the light of day and open them up to potential consequences. You can’t claim your senate speech was hacked. You can’t avoid clarifying what you are saying during cross-floor examination. A big reason why Trump was impeached (again, LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL) was because he incited the insurrection ON CAMERA. He wasn’t hacked. There was no “misinformation” label on that speech. Compared to the members of Congress & the Senate, who tweeted a ton of awful sh*t during the riot but there haven’t been any real consequences because the platform of social media gives them juuuuuust enough deniability to squeeze through the cracks in the justice system.

      All of this is just a long way of saying… these people all belong in prison and they know it, which is why they were counting on those informal social media platforms to commit their crimes while maintaining a level of deniability.

  2. Lightpurple says:

    Trump continued to attack Pence on Twitter DURING the attack.

    The one thing this is not about is the First Amendment and any lawmaker who claims it is, looking at you Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, & Ted Cruz, needs to resign. Twitter is not a government entity and you agree to its rules when you sign on.

    Yesterday, Trump Junior was attacking Dorsey & claiming Twitter was censoring him & interfering with his First Amendment rights ON Twitter. The ignorance of these fools knows no bounds.

    • Esmom says:

      Junior was silent on Twitter for maybe two days after the attack he helped incite. Not just at the rally but for years, stoking anger and repeating lies. Now he’s back to being the same punk he’s always been. Never mentioned the Capitol police officer killed. Even his tweet on the day of the attack telling people to stay calm had a dig at the “libs,” he said “don’t be like the other side.” He’s continuing to incite…as people are following his lead on this victimhood road and digging in with the stolen election sh^t and not backing down a single bit.

      I didn’t think it was possible to loathe him any more than I did but here we are.

      • Lightpurple says:

        He moved to Parler for a few days and then returned to Twitter when Parler was shut down. He was urging followers to sign up on his website, which would give him all sorts of data.

  3. Seraphina says:

    For the safety of the public after an insurrection, is that not enough of a reason?

  4. shanaynay says:

    I got banned for 12 hours for posting that Ivanka was white trash. Before his ban from Twitter, DT had said much worse horrible things, and nothing happened to him. In his tweets he was inciting riots and violence. Damn right he needed to be banned. It’s about time.

    • Seraphina says:

      @Shanaynay, but you were telling the truth, she is white trash.

    • Mignionette says:

      Shanaynay – I think I know the post you’re talking about the one with Ivanka and Maxima ???

      I was banned for a whole 7 frickin days for calling Boris Johnson a C*NT.

      The MAGATs went on a reporting spree recently.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    One of the major reasons Trump was elected was because of corruption on Facebook, and Twitter also played a role. He has broken Twitter’s rules repeatedly, he has lied over and over on Twitter with impunity, and anyone else would have been banned for life a LONG time ago. I guess I don’t agree that Jack Dorsey has some noble motive here. He’s mostly just trying to keep his enormously profitable business afloat.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Beyond his financial motives, it also seems like Jack is in agreement with “both sides”-ism and doesn’t see the harm. That he thinks we need a platform for neo-Nazis. Which is disturbing in itself.

      • Noki says:

        I could never really conceptualise how social media could possibly influence an election until i watched The Great Hack.

    • Mignionette says:

      “Jack” is just getting ready to get shcmoozy with the new administration. Tis all. The pendulum has swung back.

      Soon the real power brokers will no longer be the Murdoch’s it will be the Dorsey;s and Zuckenberg;s bc they are the ones who wield real power via their platforms which act as barometers for public sentiment.

  6. Becks1 says:

    He wasnt just banned because he was saying deplorable things – he got banned because he was actively inciting his followers to engage in acts of sedition/transition. There is a big difference there.

  7. hindulovegod says:

    Jack is trying and failing to sound noble. He let Nazis, racists, and cyberwarfare ops run rampant on his platform for years while he deplatformed women and non-white people for pointing it out. He’s doing this now because of potential legal liability and Democrats controlling oversight committees next week.

  8. TIFFANY says:

    “…..and the Democrats have the majority therefore I am trying to lessen the damage with I am sent a subpoena.”

    Finished it for you Jack.

  9. Valerie says:

    I’m 100% for the ban, but it makes me wonder: Will his tweets still be archived? They have to have a backup, right? We can’t just pretend that they don’t exist. They need to have this on record, not just for future generations, but to combat gaslighting today. I’m concerned that if his tweets are not explicitly connected to him, i.e. that they exist only in screenshots and not in situ, it will make it easier for people to foist the blame onto others.

  10. Saucy&Sassy says:

    Something to keep in mind. I know my state attorney general, and I believe others, too, are suing Facebook under anti-trust laws (monopoly). Facebook acquired Instagram, Onovo, WhatsApp and has driven other apps out of business. If the AGs win, Facebook will have to break up their monopoly, and Instagram and WhatsApp will have new ownership. I’m rather cynical about what Jack is saying here–It’s really Facebook that’s doing the talking in my opinion. I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them. Oh, wait . . . I’m not physically strong enough to throw them!