Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says banning Trump was the ‘right decision’

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Twitter was the first tech company to permanently banned President Donald Trump from its platform.

Angela Lang / CNET

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Wednesday he thinks the company made the right call by permanently suspending President Donald Trump’s account after violence broke out on Capitol Hill last week, but it was a decision that he doesn’t celebrate.

“We were faced with an extraordinary and untenable circumstance that forced us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline damage from online speech is demonstrably real and most importantly, drives our politics and enforcement,” Dorsey said in one Series of tweets.

Trump’s ban from the platform has ramifications, however, and reflects Twitter’s failure to “promote healthy conversation,” he said. Dorsey’s remarks highlight how social media companies are often trying to reconcile disparate interests as they delve deeper into offensive police content that could lead to violence.

Twitter finally banned Trump’s account on Friday after being temporarily banned for several hours for violating its rules. Despite calls to boot Trump off Twitter in the past, the company has flagged some of the president’s remarks on election fraud instead of tearing them down for the sake of public interest.

Last week, Twitter said two of Trump’s tweets violated the rules against the glorification of violence and resulted in a permanent ban. In a tweet, Trump said he would not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. In the other tweet, Trump said that his supporters, whom he called “American patriots,” “will have a huge long voice for the future” and “is in no way, in any form or in any form disregarded or treated unfairly!” In light of recent events, Twitter said the two tweets “would most likely encourage and inspire people to repeat the criminal acts” that took place in the US Capitol, in which five people died.

The unprecedented move heightened tensions between Twitter and Conservatives, who say their speech is censored by social media sites. Twitter has repeatedly denied these allegations. Other tech companies have either banned Trump’s accounts or banned him from their platforms. Snapchat was the youngest company on Wednesday to permanently ban Trump before inauguration.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump card has criticized social media companies for blocking him, calling the moves a “catastrophic mistake”. “They split and split and show something that I have long predicted,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Dorsey, who also promoted the cryptocurrency Bitcoin in his tweets, said banning an account could also set a “dangerous precedent” given the power a person or company wields over public speech. Amazon, Apple and Google last week booted Parler, a social network popular with conservatives, from its services. Parler is currently offline and it is unclear if and when the service will come back online.

“This moment may require that dynamic, but in the long run it will destroy the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet,” Dorsey tweeted. “A company that makes a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government that removes access, but may feel similar.”

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Jothi Venkat

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