“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here,” Dorsey said. “Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.”
Dorsey grappled with the implications of the decision in his posts, admitting that “having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications.” Removing users, he said, fragments the public conversation and divides people.
“While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation. And a time for us to reflect on our operations and the environment around us,” he said.
“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,” he said. “If folks do not agree with our rules and enforcement, they can simply go to another internet service.”
“This concept was challenged last week when a number of foundational internet tool providers also decided not to host what they found dangerous,” he continued.
The decision to ban the president from Twitter had immediate consequences: Trump lost access to more than 88 million followers, and the move exposed the company to censorship complaints from Republicans. Democrats blasted social media’s role in enabling Trump and warned of new legislation to regulate the tech industry.
Dorsey suggested in his posts that the tech industry’s actions could have longer term implications, too.
“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,” Dorsey said.
“Yes, we all need to look critically at inconsistencies of our policy and enforcement. 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 added.
— Brian Fung contributed reporting.