Reports Say Twitter CEO Overruled Staff To Keep Alex Jones, Richard Spencer On Twitter
In today's episode of "Complicit."
On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Jack Dorsey, the controversial CEO of Twitter, had overruled staff recommendations to keep Alex Jones on Twitter; the week-long ban Jones was eventually given was a temporary suspension when one of his tweets was deemed to “incite violence.”
This is reportedly not the first time that Dorsey has stepped in to keep a white supremacist on the platform. In November of 2016, he allegedly was against a staff decision to kick Richard Spencer and other white supremacists off the platform, saying they deserved to keep their accounts.
This is yet another chapter in Dorsey’s controversial past few months. He’s drawn fire for being one of the few social media platforms to not ban Jones, and Jones named him an ally in the fight against globalism in one of his appearances. Twitter is also unveiling new rules, which allow bigotry to exist as long as it doesn’t incite violence; still, it’s more likely that someone saying “go choke” in defense against bigotry will get banned, while people saying vile bigoted sentiments will get a free pass.
Twitter is denying these claims. Twitter’s chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde told the Wall Street Journal: “Any suggestion that Jack made or overruled any of these decisions is completely and totally false. Our service can only operate fairly if it’s run through consistent application of our rules, rather than the personal views of any executive, including our CEO.”
The problem is is that Twitter’s CEO does not seem to view these issues as the problem they are. Whether he’s a white supremacist or just a clueless bro remains to be seen, but the more he aligns himself with white supremacists and Nazis who use the site to spread their disgusting rhetoric, the harder it is to see him as being anything but complicit in their ability to use social media. While other sites have stepped up to limit the ability of extreme right-wingers to use their platforms to radicalize and spread misinformation, Twitter remains in its own little bubble.
Jones has used his Twitter account to spread lies about “Pizzagate” — the alleged child sex ring that Hillary Clinton and other top Democrats were running out of a D.C. pizzeria — and to accuse Sandy Hook of being faked with child actors. The tweet that finally got him banned for a week was telling his followers to ready their battle rifles against the media. It is rhetoric like this that got him banned from Facebook, iTunes, Spotify, and other streaming and social media sites, yet Twitter is fine with letting his misrepresentation continue on their platform.
Dorsey took to twitter recently, saying he was not proud of how the site has been used.
We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation, and to hold ourselves publicly accountable towards progress.
— jack (@jack) March 1, 2018
We have witnessed abuse, harassment, troll armies, manipulation through bots and human-coordination, misinformation campaigns, and increasingly divisive echo chambers. We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service, or our inability to address it fast enough.
— jack (@jack) March 1, 2018
The problem remains that Twitter has yet to devise a solution to the mass harassment of marginalized identities or the large white supremacist presence on the site. Dorsey is expected to testify before a House committee, along with other major technology leaders, about how sites can be used by foreign agents to spread misinformation. Hopefully, that will lead to major change, instead of the current culture where we are left to defend ourselves with no help from Twitter leadership.
(via the Wall Street Journal; Image: Pexels)
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