On Tuesday, the Business Insider reported that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is allegedly getting personally involved with blocking certain accounts on the social media site despite his claim that the company is the “free-speech wing of the free-speech party.”
Business Insider cited a report at Fast Company, which, in turn, cited unnamed inside sources.
According to Fast Company, “the hasty decision to eliminate certain alt-right verifications–and, at other times, to suspend particular bad actors from the service altogether–has come directly from Dorsey himself. ‘Jack said we should do this,’ members of the team involved with removing the statuses told coworkers at the time.”
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The report added:
The rationalization, people familiar with the situation say, has become an increasingly common refrain at Twitter as Dorsey has thrust himself into addressing trust and safety issues, a dynamic that’s both promising and fraught, as Fast Company learned during reporting for our new cover story on Twitter and its struggles to eradicate digital pollution from its platform. While some insiders are heartened that Dorsey is finally giving product safety the attention and resources it deserves, others fear his personal involvement could create a policy and enforcement minefield that calls into question the impartiality of the system, especially if he continues to step into internal decisions related to individual accounts. “Jack was making those [kinds of] calls. They were very smart about it–you’re not going to find a paper trail,” says a source aware of the dynamic. “He was very good about providing certain items to [the] safety [team] and asking for action. He would tell somebody [on the team], You should check out this account–you should do something about it.”
Fast Company further said:
The potential consequences of this setup are manifold. At core, three sources familiar with the situation contend, is the risk that Dorsey makes requests, implicitly or explicitly, to the safety team to suspend a user or remove a verification, but doesn’t first push to develop a corresponding policy or enforcement mechanism to justify that decision, which could either result in watering down Twitter’s overall community rules or, worse, make action impossible to scale consistently without his personal input. “The moment you’re catering to the request of a CEO–whether by making exceptions in enforcement or by taking action outside of [what] the policy [calls for]–everything goes downhill,” says the source aware of the dynamic.
The Fast Company report also said Dorsey had a say in the decision to ban Trump supporter Roger Stone and would reportedly ask Del Harvey, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, to take action when alleged abuse directly affected celebrities or other high-profile users.
And, the reports say, it’s not clear if Dorsey issued instructions regarding individual accounts, but would rather flag a “problem” account and ask the safety team to step in.
Fast Company said that Dorsey “contributed to an internal debate around removing [Milo] Yiannopoulos’s verification status, a precursor to actions and policy moves the company would later take against Richard Spencer and other alt-right supporters.” That action sparked a great deal of anger and prompted the #FreeMilo hashtag.
And, one source reportedly said, “Jack was making those [kinds of] calls. They were very smart about it — you’re not going to find a paper trail. He was very good about providing certain items to [the] safety [team] and asking for action. He would tell somebody [on the team], You should check out this account — you should do something about it.”
A former employee reportedly weighed in, adding: “Honestly, for a guy who is splitting his time as the CEO of two big companies [Twitter and Square, Dorsey’s payments company], the idea that he’s weighing in on individual accounts . . . Jack got far too deep in the weeds.”
Dorsey recently sparked controversy when he issued a tweet supportive of an article advocating a “new civil war” resulting in one-party Democrat rule and the complete elimination of conservative Republican involvement. He later walked it back a bit, but the damage was done…
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