After Twitter banned President Trump’s account last week, the site and its executives, including Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, were largely silent in justifying their decision. That changed last night when Dorsey, in a series of tweets, explained that he felt banning Trump’s account was the right move for the social network. The Verge reports: “Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all,” he wrote. Dorsey blamed Twitter’s failure “to promote healthy conversation,” acknowledged that Twitter needs to “look critically at inconsistencies of our policy and enforcement,” and said that social platforms needed more transparency around moderation. Then, Dorsey plugged an effort to build a decentralized standard for social media he began in 2019 when he sought to hire five engineers to work on it. That’s how, eight tweets into a thread on why his company banned Donald Trump, the CEO of Twitter managed to change the subject to his passion for bitcoin.
Banning the RealDonaldTrump Twitter account had “real and significant ramifications,” Dorsey wrote. Dorsey said that the widespread suspension of the president by many platforms challenged the notion that if people didn’t like Twitter’s rules, they could simply go somewhere else. And though the president can issue a press release or call a press conference whenever he wishes — or simply go on television — Dorsey expressed concern that the enforcement actions might “erode a free and open global internet.”
And that was when bitcoin came up. Dorsey is also CEO of Square, an internet payment company, that bought $50 million of bitcoin as part of a bet on cryptocurrency. Square has accepted bitcoin since 2014. According to Dorsey, bitcoin provides a model for a decentralized model for social media. Dorsey did not elaborate on how such a network might address Twitter’s failures in moderation, creating healthy conversations, or provide for more consistent policy enforcment. “It’s important that we acknowledge this is a time of great uncertainty and struggle for so many around the world,” Dorsey wrote on Twitter. “Our goal in this moment is to disarm as much as we can, and ensure we are all building towards a greater common understanding, and a more peaceful existence on earth. I believe the internet and global public conversation is our best and most relevant method of achieving this.”