“I think it was the right move for Twitter,” Dorsey said, adding that the company “faces an extraordinary and untenable situation, requiring us to focus all of our actions on public safety.”
But the action, he noted, has had perilous consequences in terms of fragmenting the conversation online as people flee to use different services that are politically convenient for them, and giving companies like Twitter a huge boost. uncontrolled power.
“This moment in time might demand that dynamic, but in the long run it will be destructive to the lofty goal and ideals of the Open Internet,” he wrote. “A business making the business decision to moderate is different from a government removing access, but it can feel the same.”
Twitter banned Trump’s account, which had 88 million subscribers, last Friday after suspending it for the first time for 12 hours on the day of the Capitol siege. Trump tweeted again on Friday that he would not be attending the inauguration, and also said his supporters would not be disrespected “in any way, form or form.”
Twitter immediately dismantled its account, saying the tweets could incite violence.
Facebook has also banned Trump indefinitely, as has the Amazon-owned Twitch video platform. Snapchat also said it will permanently ban Trump from its app on Wednesday night. The company had already said last week that Trump was suspended indefinitely last week.
“In the interest of public safety, and on the basis of his attempts to spread false information, hate speech and incitement to violence, which are clear violations of our guidelines, we have taken the decision to close their account permanently, ”said Snap spokesperson Rachel Racusen. A declaration.
Google-owned YouTube banned Trump’s account for seven days. Amazon’s web services division has taken down the social media site Speak, which has also been removed from the Google and Apple app stores.
(Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Together, the swift actions of tech companies have demonstrated their ability to silence or drastically tone down the speech of the most powerful voices in American society. They raised new questions about the power of tech companies – which Dorsey alluded to – and the balance between free speech and public safety, even as the measures were lauded.
Dorsey, along with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a strong believer in creating platforms that can encompass as many voices as possible. This latitude and position in favor of free speech has been extended even further with politicians. Twitter – like Facebook – has long granted exemptions to public figures from their hate speech policies on the grounds that what they said was newsworthy and deserved public debate. Decisions last week to effectively silence those voices, Dorsey said, would have huge ramifications.
“They limit the potential for clarification, redemption and learning,” he wrote. “And sets a precedent that seems dangerous to me: the power that an individual or company has over part of the global public conversation.”
Rachel Lerman contributed to this report.