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Thursday Jan 14 2021
By
AFP

Twitter's Jack Dorsey backs Trump ban but warns of 'dangerous' precedent

By
AFP

  • Jack Dorsey says ban is failure of social media platforms to promote healthy conversations
  • Jack Dorsey rejects notion that social media giants coordinated Trump ban
  • Critics say Twitter's decision to permanently suspend Trump was long overdue 


SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on Wednesday backed his company's decision to ban US President Donald Trump but acknowledged that it would set a "dangerous" precedent.

"Having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications," Dorsey said in a string of tweets inviting feedback from users.

"While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation."

Trump's access to social media platforms, he has used as a megaphone during his presidency, has been largely cut off since a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington last week.

Operators say the embittered leader could use his accounts to foment more unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

Read more: Snapchat joins other social media platforms to permanently ban Donald Trump

Late last week Twitter shut down Trump's account, booting him from the global platform he has fervently used throughout his term in office to make proclamations, accusations and spread misinformation.

Twitter's decision to permanently suspend Trump is considered overdue by critics who argue he has gotten away with abuses, but has inflamed members of the far right who say it stifles free speech.

Twitter said in a blog post explaining its decision that after close review of the president's recent tweets it had "permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence."

Twitter also blocked efforts by Trump to sidestep the ban when he posted tweets from the official presidential account @POTUS and the @TeamTrump campaign account.

Read more: Trump's Twitter ban obscures the real problem of state-backed manipulation is rampant on social media

"We understand the desire to permanently suspend him now," ACLU senior legislative counsel Kate Ruane said at the time.

"But, it should concern everyone when companies like Facebook and Twitter wield the unchecked power to remove people from platforms that have become indispensable for the speech of billions."

Dorsey said Wednesday that while he believes Twitter made the right decision to ban Trump, it "sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation."

"Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation," Dorsey said.

"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."

Read more: Trump banned on Twitter due to risk of more violence

Twitter is far from the only major platform to oust Trump, with bans also in effect by Facebook plus Snapchat, and YouTube temporarily suspending his channel.

Dorsey rejected the notion that social media giants coordinated these efforts, reasoning that it was more likely they each came to the same conclusion about the potential for violence.