Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, pictured in September 2018, says he believes the platform made the right decision to ban US President Donald Trump but that it sets a dangerous precedent Photo: AFP/File
world

Twitter chief says Trump ban admits 'dangerous' precedent

42 Comments
By Jim WATSON

Twitter chief Jack Dorsey backed the messaging platform's ban of U.S. President Donald Trump, but said Wednesday it sets a "dangerous" precedent and represents a failure to promote healthy conversation on the social network.

"Having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications," Dorsey said in a string of tweets inviting feedback from users. "While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation."

Trump's access to social media platforms he has used as a megaphone during his presidency has been largely cut off since a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington last week.

Operators say the embittered leader could use his accounts to foment more unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

Late last week, Twitter shut down Trump's account, booting him from the global platform he has fervently used throughout his term in office to make proclamations, accusations and spread misinformation.

Twitter's decision to permanently suspend Trump is considered overdue by critics who argue he has gotten away with abuses, but has inflamed members of the far right who say it stifles free speech.

Twitter said in a blog post explaining its decision that after close review of the president's recent tweets it had "permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence."

Twitter also blocked efforts by Trump to sidestep the ban when he posted tweets from the official presidential account @POTUS and the @TeamTrump campaign account.

"We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now," ACLU senior legislative counsel Kate Ruane said at the time. "But, it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions."

Dorsey said Wednesday that while he believes Twitter made the right decision to ban Trump, it "sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation."

"Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation," Dorsey said. "This moment in time might call for this dynamic, but over the long term it will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet."

Twitter is far from the only major platform to oust Trump, with bans also in effect by Facebook plus Snapchat, and YouTube temporarily suspending his channel.

Dorsey rejected the notion that social media giants coordinated these efforts, reasoning that it was more likely they each came to the same conclusion about the potential for violence.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments

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"But, it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions."

Ironic that conservatives are going to be agreeing with the ACLU.

I agree with this statement, but Trump needed to go before he was inflicted even greater damage on our democratic republic via tweet.

-11 ( +11 / -22 )

How did a dimwit like this guy ever get to be CEO of a corporation that makes billions yet serves no uselful purpose?

13 ( +24 / -11 )

It’s his company so he can do what he likes, but it isn’t going to achieve anything good for him or the Democrats. Twitter will lose users, and it will strengthen Trump support and anti-mainstream media support. He gets my vote alone on this. Silencing someone is medieval. These people never learn.

2 ( +19 / -17 )

Twitter chief Jack Dorsey backed the messaging platform's ban of U.S. President Donald Trump, but said Wednesday it sets a "dangerous" precedent and represents a failure to promote healthy conversation on the social network.

Translation: Your stock is tumbling, your users are bailing.

Censorship has a price.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

Boycott Twitter. It’s garbage anyway.

11 ( +22 / -11 )

Fun question: if Trump were a poster on JT who commented on here instead of tweeting on Twitter, how many of his posts do you think the mods would have immediately deleted? I'm guessing most of them.

I appreciate that there are serious concerns about speech and the ability of a company like Twitter to silence someone, which can obviously be abused. But at the same time....

3 ( +13 / -10 )

members of the far right who say it stifles free speech.

It will be interesting to see whether anyone will take the 'stifles free speech' issue to a court, and if so in the US whether it might make it to the Supreme Court, currently 'conservative'.

The issue of what constitutes free speech definitely needs a re-think in the social media era. Should anonymous posters be able to post anything they want with no reprisals?

Now, as I understand it, inciting a riot is not permissible. Will the conservative US Supreme Court continue to uphold that?

I'm curious what the new court would determine if say a pandemic is sweeping the US, killing hundreds of thousands, sickening millions, damaging an economy, and whether the court would say it's all right for people to claim the virus is a hoax, nothing serious and there'd be no consequences for doing so.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Too much censorship is not good for anyone !

8 ( +16 / -8 )

is indispensable !?

quite the opposite actually.

Its nothing more than a platform for narcissists to say look at me, validate me - press like !

9 ( +11 / -2 )

$51.2 Billion lost cap between Twitter and Facebook combined since the ban. Trump was in the top 10 of most followers and number one of active politicians. Twitter had a hate/hate relationship with Trump but continued to let him post. No doubt they will reluctantly let Trump back on for financial concerns but by that time Trump will have made his own platform.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Its nothing more than a platform for narcissists to say look at me, validate me - press like !

There is that element to it, and one helpful step to root this out could be to get rid of the likes but that would mean fewer users.

I agreed with Trump in that Twitter helped to get his message out unfiltered by the partisan press.

His tweets painted an unfiltered picture of a pathological liar, a narcissist, a scam artist and someone with a insatiable thirst for posting trash.

Very revealing and useful.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Never used Twit and never will.

The fact Trump is now “Banned” just shows you the extent you are now being

controlled...time to pull the plug on all this crap and get back to a Non-Internet based life.

The problem is, are you CAPABLE of that?

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Banning Trump by Twitter and other companies has nothing to do with their moral standings or concern for democracy. It is just in their commercial interest at this moment. While they banned Trump for being dangerous and inciting violence, they don't ban such people/accounts in other countries where such leaders are in Power.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

time to pull the plug on all this crap and get back to a Non-Internet based life.

The problem is, are you CAPABLE of that?

Are you aware that you posted this using the internet?

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Well, who insisted on killing net neutrality?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I can only hope that stupid social media platforms like Twitter, FB, Insta, Tiktok and all the weirder ones eat themselves and people get their heads back into the real world.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

If Trump makes his own platform, I hope he calls it Trumpet.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Government by tweet was a Trump innovation ( a perfect vehicle for a person with a limited ability to read or write to communicate to millions similarly handicapped) which was then aped by many other government officials, domestic and foreign. Trump has for the last 5 years wasted everyone's time spouting his mindless nonsense. The Twitter ban will not shut him up: only the gag of a Supermax will silence him and allow us all to move on.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Trump's the reason why we have to have 20,000 troops at Biden's inauguration.

Ban him everywhere.

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

Too much censorship is not good for anyone !

True but so if misinformation and lies

4 ( +14 / -10 )

He is only talking like this because his stock shares will be flushed down the toilet soon.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Never used Twit and never will. 

The fact Trump is now “Banned” just shows you the extent you are now being 

controlled...time to pull the plug on all this crap and get back to a Non-Internet based life.

The problem is, are you CAPABLE of that?

Perfect!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@Superlib

Trump's the reason why we have to have 20,000 troops at Biden's inauguration.

You're right. Trump is the one who called in the National Guard. Thanks for pointing out the good things Trump's doing. "Superlib" stands for "Super Libertarian," right? Still going to Tea Parties?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

The issue of what constitutes free speech definitely needs a re-think in the social media era. Should anonymous posters be able to post anything they want with no reprisals?

Suppose that there are two questions here:

1: Constitutionally guaranteed "Free Speech"

The constitution states that Congress cannot make a law that limits free speech. And, there have been some limited carve outs to allow laws to limit free speech, mostly time and place limits and some limits on content, like inciting violence.

Banning someone from Twitter or elsewhere is not a constitutional limitation on "free speech". Alternative facts and plain old ignorance doesn't change this.

2: "Free Speech" in reference to social media

Sorry, access to a social media account is not a constitutional right. So, companies can limit the speech allowed on the platforms. It is purely a business decision.

Parlor is arguing that AWS is violating anti-trust statutes, i.e., AWS is effectively a monopoly. AWS is basically a cloud based server service. There is nothing preventing Parlor from buying servers and hosting their webpages. I think the anti-trust lawsuit against AWS will fail because there are many ways to host a webpage outside of AWS.

In the end, taking QAnon and these right wing extremists off of the large web services and social media sites is similar to what the U.S. has been doing to limit other extremists, like ISIS. They cannot stop them from using the internet, but they can slow them down.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Twitter or any other company will say anything and erase and fire anyone who might potentially affect their business. Since social media became so important for communication, companies should have limited tools of censoring. Ideally, only court should rule in these situations.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Since when did Twitter have healthy conversation?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation..

Nope not global public conversation but local public conversation... but he knows this have have global ramifications for this type of business and that's what he is worried about..

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Silencing someone is medieval. These people never learn.

Same poster 10 minutes later:

Boycott Twitter. It’s garbage anyway.

’Winning’ logic I guess.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Trump's the reason why we have to have 20,000 troops at Biden's inauguration.

Ban him everywhere.

When he said he was bringing the troops home I didn’t think he meant to protect Democracy against him.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

If you spread hate and chaos, you get banned. Period.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Double standards, all those riots by black lives matter and antifa were arranged using twitter facebook and those other social media, but this guy hasnt banned those people or shut down their accounts you can pretty much bet on that.

This guy is just another hypocrite showing his double standards .

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Well, who insisted on killing net neutrality?

Funny. I don't think it was the point of net neutrality though.

There was a bill that could hold social media accountable for failing to police the services. It didn't pass, probably because the right wing didn't like potential limits on their lies. Biden has an opportunity to pass it into law, assuming it passes constitutional muster.

I would like to see a law against posting false information. Yes, it is hard to decide what is true, but it is easier to decide what is false.

Dorsey's and Facebook idea is to use people to socialize what is true, as well as to be the "AI" or secret sauce to identify the social connections that they rely on to make money.

People are just too gullible and ignorant though to decide what is true, and there are a lot of bad actors out there willing to deceive.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So the trump supporter argument basically boils down to 2 things:

“it’s not fair!”

“I’ll get you back!”

I think you’re just tired and playing up in front of your friends. Nap time now, c’mon.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Just look at that dude! He was probably the mastermind behind the Trump presidency 4 years ago. Tech is great, devils controlling tech, now thats another story.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Twitter bears great responsibility for allowing this hellhound Trump utilize their medium to churn up vicious lies and hatred. Now they are rats deserting a sinking ship, after all the damage has been done.

I remember that TV ad for Toyota Motor Co. when I was a kid, and to paraphrase it: 'You asked for it, you got it, impeachment!'.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Trump should have been banned years ago.

The second act of Trump is going to be fun to watch as he buuuuurns....

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Maybe read the ToS first?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Japantoday's ToS allows moderators to remove or edit posts by users and/or ban users if they violate the ToS. Are you saying they shouldn't be allowed to do this? How is this different from Twitter, Facebook, etc.?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The thing a lot of people fail to realize is that this really isnt a left/right issue. Same thing could just as easily happen the other way in the future. We could easily find examples of politicians from BOTH parties staking out extreme positions, and saying things that could easily be construed as encouraging or condoning political violence.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Japantoday's ToS allows moderators to remove or edit posts by users and/or ban users if they violate the ToS. Are you saying they shouldn't be allowed to do this? How is this different from Twitter, Facebook, etc.?

If Twitter etc stayed the scale of JT, no one would care. There should be a limit on how big corporations can grow. Actually, there is - called antimonopoly laws. Doesn't work that well in the US though.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

These days, social media has achieved a similar status to phone companies in the 20th century. It would have been unthinkable for the phone company to listen in on your calls, monitor you, and ban you if the phone company didn't like what you were saying.

It seems that "big tech" wants the best of both worlds. THey want editorial control without editorial responsibility.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

get back to a Non-Internet based life. The problem is, are you CAPABLE of that?

I often think about this. I if could then, why can't I now? Trouble is other people can't or won't.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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