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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Gets Roasted During His Own TED Talk AMA

Ah, sweet irony.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey roasted at his own ama.

Twitter, like a shitty boyfriend or an overpowering Oreo addiction, is bad for all of us, but we just can’t seem to quit it. After all, where else would be get our latest news, memes, and dangerously irresponsible ramblings from the president? Despite its myriad problems (and by problems, I mean Nazis), Twitter continues to reign supreme among social media platforms, for better or for worse.

In an effort to pave a new future for the company, CEO Jack Dorsey participated in an AMA hosted by TED Talks. Twitter users were encouraged to ask questions with the hashtag #AskJackAtTED, and reader, it went about as well we thought it would.

In a brilliant move, the questions that poured in were projected onto two giant screens behind Dorsey, providing a stunning backdrop of people asking WTF Dorsey was going to do about the proliferation of Nazis and hate speech on the site. As Dorsey laid out his plans for the company, which included “reducing outrage” and “incentivizing healthy conversation,” tweets kept pouring in about the company’s seemingly indifferent attitude towards harassment and abuse.

The tweet screens were turned off halfway through the interview (no surprise), although TED Talk organizers said that was their plan all along. In addition to questioning Twitter policy, plenty of users just went after Dorsey’s appearance, which hopefully doesn’t come as a surprise to the guy who runs Twitter. The CEO appeared disheveled with a long beard and knit hat, prompting plenty of jokes.

Dorsey laid out his plans to revamp Twitter by moving the focus from individual members to topics of conversation. He admitted that the current operating procedure of the site does not promote a healthy exchange of ideas, saying, “In the past, it’s incented a lot of outrage, It’s incented a lot of mob behavior. It’s incented a lot of group harassment.”

His plan includes a more proactive approach to removing abusive tweets, as opposed to relying on user reports. Dorsey said that their system now eliminates up to 38% of those tweets.

Dorsey also wants to make the site “more meaningful,” saying, “You don’t necessarily walk away feeling you have learned something … It takes a lot of time and a lot of work to build up to that.” Great plan, dude, but before we get to educating the masses, how about you address the rampant abuse and hate speech targeted at women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks? Like, get that up to 100% first and then tackle that other stuff.

TED’s Chris Anderson and Whitney Pennington Rodgers pulled no punches during the interview, pressing Dorsey on his policies. Anderson said it best when he compared Twitter to the Titanic, saying,

“We are on this great voyage with you on a ship, and there are people on board in steerage who are expressing discomfort and you, unlike other captains are saying, ‘well, tell me, I want to hear,’ and they’re saying ‘we’re worried about the iceberg ahead,’ and you say, ‘our ship hasn’t been built for steering as well as it might,’ and you’re showing this extraordinary calm, but we’re all saying, ‘Jack, turn the fucking wheel!’”

(via Axios, image: David Becker/Getty Images)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.