The last week has been a tough one, well, if your name happens to be Donald Trump it’s been a tough one.
The outgoing US President has been banned from Facebook, Twitter and received a strike from YouTube for content uploaded to the site.
These bans were not without consequences as the stock values of Facebook and Twitter have plummeted throughout the week. That hasn’t been the worst of it though as the bans have launched a series of questions regarding the power that big tech firms wield.
It seems as if the discourse has grown so loud that Twitter chief executive officer, Jack Dorsey, has outlined his thoughts and reasoning regarding the Trump ban.
The CEO started off by explaining why the ban was implemented and stated that he did not “celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter”.
“I believe this was the right decision for Twitter. We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all,” wrote Dorsey.
Dorsey acknowledges that this move may have further divided people on the left and right of the aisle.
And this is where things get a bit murky.
The Twitter CEO explains while the old adage of “If you don’t like our rules, go somewhere else” worked in years past, in future it could cause more harm than good.
The solution, Dorsey says, is a decentralised social media network but the last time the CEO suggested this, he was slammed for ignoring the work many independent developers were doing to create just that sort of solution.
The project Twitter is working on is called bluesky but the Twitter account associated with the project was last updated on 25th March 2020.
Worse, Dorsey says that bluesky is “in the process of interviewing and hiring folks, looking at both starting a standard from scratch or contributing to something that already exists”.
This thread then doesn’t seem like more than a PR exercise in damage control and quite frankly, it’s not good enough.
We’re not saying that Trump didn’t push the envelope and earn his ban but it’s the fact that Dorsey is willing to say the firm has a lot of power but fails to recommend how to reign its power in, aside from a stagnant project.
While Trump might’ve sowed division throughout his four year term, we do think that his comments about big tech having too much power are worth exploring further.
The fact is that even if you dislike Trump, one has to wonder who could be banned from platforms in the future if the owners don’t like what is being said.
You can and should read through Dorsey’s thread here.