WASHINGTON (SBG) — In a 13-tweet thread on the site he founded, Jack Dorsey cited extraordinary and untenable circumstances in the reasoning for permanently banning President Donald Trump from Twitter.
He wrote that he “does not celebrate or feel pride in” the decision, but affirmed he feels it was the right one, adding “saying offline harm from online speech is demonstrably real and what drives the policy,” referring to the violent attack at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here. 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. Was this correct?— jack (@jack) January 14, 2021
Dorsey, along with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, have testified on Capitol Hill multiple times about their sites’ policies regarding free speech, especially after initially restricting the sharing of a New York Post article about Hunter Biden’s emails, a policy Dorsey later reversed and called a mistake.
“Upon further consideration, we admitted this action was wrong and corrected it within 24 hours,” Dorsey said during a Senate hearing on the matter in November.
Still many Republicans called it outright election interference.
“The power behind these platforms has been taken to a level that is dangerous, I think,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
So, what are the long-term implications of just a handful of men choosing what and who can stay online and what gets taken down?
“I think it’s problematic Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg are not accountable to anyone. They’re not accountable to voters and they wield enormous power,” said Bret Schafer, a media and digital disinformation fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy.
Trump, now banned from Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and currently YouTube, denounced the moves as an unprecedented assault on our free speech.
“The efforts to censor, cancel and blacklist our fellow citizens are wrong and they are dangerous,” Trump said in a White House video released Wednesday night.
Dorsey himself tweeted he realizes his actions “divide us,” acknowledging “more transparency is needed,” as the conversation shifts to the best way to proceed.
“In our history from a legal standpoint, for more than 200 years, we’ve always had trouble – What is offensive? What is harmful? What is pornography? What is so offensive that we have to contain it?” said Attorney Karen Conti, in an interview Thursday.
Experts fear the long-term impact could be more political polarization, that Americans may soon see Democrats using one social media site, Republicans using another and everyone exposed to less diversity of opinion.