Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey performed an interview with NBC News recently where he discussed the issues his platform faces surrounding “election security” and the presence of Infowars host Alex Jones on the website.
In an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey discussed some of the issues facing his platform. One of the key issues surrounded Alex Jones, the host of Infowars, who was recently purged from nearly every major social media website — except Twitter. Jones has only just today received a seven-day suspension from Twitter but the official InfoWars pages remain active on the Twitter platform.
Dorsey said that he resisted many calls to ban Jones from the platform, including from fellow colleagues at Twitter: “We can’t build a service that is subjective just to the whims of what we personally believe,” said Dorsey, further explaining that he believes that suspensions can be effective but only when a user has actually violated a websites rules. “I feel any suspension, whether it be a permanent or a temporary one, makes someone think about their actions and their behaviors,” Dorsey said.
Holt asked Dorsey if he believes that Jones’ purge from social media will cause Jones to change the way he acts or think about some of his past comments in a different light, Dorsey replied: “Whether it works within this case to change some of those behaviors and change some of those actions, I don’t know. But this is consistent with how we enforce.” Dorsey further clarified his position stating: “the most important thing for us is that we are consistent in applying our enforcement.”
But Dorsey did state that the first priority of Twitter is to “to put the safety of individuals first in every single thing that we do, and we need to enforce our rules and also evolve our rules around that.” Dorsey was, however, mildly critical of the other platforms that banned Jones stating that their actions were not entirely consistent with their user policies. “I think some of the actions have been, in my own personal view, a little bit inconsistent,” said Dorsey.
Twitter has a new focus in the coming years according to the CEO, “Election integrity is our first priority this year,” Dorsey said. He further elaborated that the company was working on software to combat bot accounts on the platform: “We need to make sure that we are considering not just policy changes, but also product changes to help alleviate some of these concerns,” he said.
When asked if conservative rhetoric on the platform was more extreme than liberal rhetoric, Dorsey stated: “We need to look at behaviors, when people are trying to shut down the voices of others. People are trying to harass others. And that’s independent of a viewpoint.”
Dorsey further reiterated that the company was working towards improving “conversational health” on the platform and that Dorsey is aware that the platform has had negative effects on users in the past. “Three years ago, we prioritized health and safety as our number one priority in the company,” he said. “And we’re coming from 10 years of not doing that. So there is a lot of debt that we have to pay down. There is a lot of infrastructures that we have to change. There’s a lot of policy that we have to look critically at.”