Trump ban sets 'dangerous' precedent, Twitter chief says

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Wednesday backed the messaging platform's ban of US President Donald Trump, but said it sets a "dangerous" precedent and represents a failure to promote healthy conversation on social networks, AFP reported.

"Having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications," Dorsey said in a string of tweets about his take on the company's decision late last week to permanently bar the president. "While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation," Dorsey said, inviting feedback from users.

Trump's access to social media platforms has been largely cut off since a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington last week. In addition to Twitter, bans have also been put in place by Facebook, Instagram, Twitch and Snapchat, while YouTube temporarily suspended his channel. Social media operators say the embittered leader could have used his accounts to foment more unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

However Twitter was Trump's go-to tool, which he used to directly communicate on a daily basis with some 88 million followers, posting everything from proclamations to accusations and spreading misinformation via the platform.

On Monday, Twitter took things one step further, announcing it had also suspended "more than 70,000 accounts" linked to the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory that claims Trump is waging a secret war against a global liberal cult of Satan-worshipping pedophiles.

Dorsey rejected the notion that social media giants coordinated efforts, reasoning that it was more likely they each came to the same conclusion about the potential for violence.

Twitter's decision to permanently suspend Trump is considered overdue by critics who argue he has gotten away with abuses, but has worried free-speech advocates and drawn criticism from various NGOs and leaders. Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel weighed in, stating Monday through her spokesman that she believed freedom of opinion should not be determined by "the management of social media platforms."

 

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