Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey said the company was wrong to make a "business decision" in banning former President Donald Trump, a signal he may back reinstating accounts subjected to disciplinary action as Elon Musk prepares to helm the platform.
Without calling for Trump's account to be reinstated, Dorsey said he agrees with Musk's criticism of permanent bans, listing certain exceptions that warrant removal and noting that the Trump ban "shouldn't have been" a "business decision."
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"I do agree. There are exceptions (CSE, illegal behaviour, spam or network manipulation, etc), but generally permanent bans are a failure of ours and don't work, which I wrote about here after the event (and called for a resilient social media protocol)," Dorsey tweeted.
"It was a business decision, it shouldn't have been. and we should always revisit our decisions and evolve as necessary. I stated in that thread and still believe that permanent bans of individuals are directionally wrong," he continued.
I do agree. There are exceptions (CSE, illegal behaviour, spam or network manipulation, etc), but generally permanent bans are a failure of ours and don't work, which I wrote about here after the event (and called for a resilient social media protocol): https://t.co/fQ9KnrCQGX— jack⚡️ (@jack) May 10, 2022
it was a business decision, it shouldn't have been. and we should always revisit our decisions and evolve as necessary. I stated in that thread and still believe that permanent bans of individuals are directionally wrong.— jack⚡️ (@jack) May 10, 2022
Dorsey also said he agreed with a tweet from the director of the Knight First Amendment Institute who said, "Asking a handful of social media companies to expand the role they already play as gatekeepers to political discourse is short-sighted."
agree— jack⚡️ (@jack) May 10, 2022
After weeks of beating around the bush, Musk addressed Twitter's ban of the former president on Tuesday, decrying it as a "morally bad" decision and indicating he would reverse it when he takes over the social media giant.
"I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump," Musk declared in an interview organized by the Financial Times. "I think that was a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice."
Musk's statement attracted expressions of concern from the Left about the proliferation of disinformation online.
"I would say it's the decision by a private-sector company to make on who will or will not be allowed on their platforms," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. "What I will say, broadly speaking, is that our effort is to, of course, make sure that freedom of speech is protected across the country but that also these platforms are not used for forums for disinformation."
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Late last month, Twitter announced it accepted Musk's $44 billion takeover offer. Once the takeover clears the regulatory and logistical hurdles, Musk said he would push the company to be more hospitable to free speech.
Twitter has faced criticism from conservatives who have accused the platform of being overly censorious of right-leaning content. The biggest example was its permanent ban of Trump last year following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Twitter joined other social platforms such as Facebook in banning Trump, contending the decision was made "due to the risk of further incitement of violence."