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Twitter boss admits: ‘Banning Trump sets dangerous precedent’

“I don’t feel any pride in the idea that we had to ban @realDonaldTrump,” he tweeted Wednesday, in a series of messages in which he reconsiders the social network’s decision to indefinitely ban the outgoing president of the States- United for having encouraged the violence of the Capitol.

It is a “failure on our part to promote healthy conversation” and these kinds of measures “divide us. They limit the possibilities to explain, to redeem, to learn,” he continued.

Twitter was the Republican billionaire’s main communication tool, who used it on a daily basis to directly address his 88 million subscribers. He was also suspended from Facebook, Snapchat, Twitch, and, since Tuesday, YouTube for a week. Google’s video platform faced increasing pressure from NGOs and personalities.

But the tweet network’s decision is by far the most iconic. The ostracization of the head of state has been welcomed by many elected officials, but it has also drawn criticism from associations and leaders, such as Chancellor Angela Merkel, concerned about the power of technology companies.

“It sets a precedent that I find dangerous: the power that an individual or a company has over part of the global public conversation,” admits Jack Dorsey in this introspective monologue.

Purge

He stressed that the balance of power was respected as long as “people could just go to another service, if our rules and our application of the rules did not suit them”.

But “this concept was challenged last week when a number of essential internet tool providers also decided not to host what they found dangerous,” he admits.

“I don’t think it was coordinated. More likely: the companies came to their own conclusions or were encouraged by the actions of others.”

In addition to its flagship measure, Twitter deleted this weekend 70,000 accounts affiliated with QAnon, a pro-Trump conspiratorial movement, involved in the invasion of the Capitol that disrupted the certification ceremony of Joe Biden’s victory last Wednesday.

When Donald Trump tried Friday to respond to the suspension of his personal account via the official POTUS account (President of the United States), for the attention of the “75 million patriots” who voted for him, his messages were immediately removed by the social network.

“Using another account to avoid the suspension is against our rules,” said a spokesperson for the company.

Facebook has for its part undertaken to remove all messages related to the slogan “Stop the steal”, spread by the president and his fans for months.

Power

Google and Apple have excluded the social network Parler from their application download platforms. Amazon has hit the nail on the head by ousting the conservative network, popular with Donald Trump’s supporters, from its servers, which is tantamount to driving it off the internet.

All these tech giants invoked the risks of further violence during the opening week. The US authorities fear overflows, to the point that the accommodation reservation platform Airbnb on Wednesday canceled all reservations planned in Washington next week.

Jack Dorsey’s remarks come in a context of annoyance, even anger, on the part of American elected officials on both sides. They blame Twitter and its neighbors in Silicon Valley for their omnipotence, both in terms of economic competition and in terms of data and public debate.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday ordered major platforms to explain their “terrifying free speech” decisions.

“They silence all those whose views and political beliefs are not aligned with the bosses of + Big Tech +,” said in a statement, this fervent supporter of Donald Trump.

“Yes, we need to critically examine the inconsistencies in our rules. Yes, we need to look at how our service can promote distraction and harm. Yes, we need more transparency in our moderation of content,” said nevertheless asserted Jack Dorsey, in the interest of a “free, open and global internet”.

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