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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Wednesday night said he did not “celebrate or feel pride” in his platform’s ban on President Trump’s account — but explained the move was necessary for public safety.
“After a clear warning we’d take this action, we made a decision with the best information we had based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter,” Dorsey wrote in a series of tweets about the controversial move that he felt was ultimately justified.
“We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all,” he wrote.
Twitter’s Trump ban came two days after thousands of pro-Trump supporters breached the Capitol as Congress was certifying the presidentail election.
Five people died in the riot, including a Capitol Police officer, and the attack led to Trump’s second impeachment, accusing him of sparking the deadly siege.
Despite affirming Twitter’s decision, Dorsey on Wednesday night acknowledged the “real and significant ramifications” that come with an account ban.
“Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation. They divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption, and learning. And sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation,” Dorsey wrote.
Besides Twitter, the president last week was locked out of his accounts on most other major social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, who blocked him at least until the inauguration.
Dorsey doubted it was a coordinated effort among all companies.
“More likely: companies came to their own conclusions or were emboldened by the actions of others,” he said.
And while Dorsey said the time was right to take action on Trump’s account, he sounded the alarm over continued, similar future enforcement.
“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. A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same,” said Dorsey.
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