A series of revelations over the past two weeks have detailed various ways that Twitter executives restricted or censored certain forms of speech prior to Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company.
Now, the social media site’s founder is reacting to the controversy with a statement of contrition.
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey began with a statement including several characteristics that he believes the platform should have in order to be successful, writing that it “must be resilient to corporate and government control.”
He went on to assert that only content creators should be allowed to remove their own posts and that moderation of such content “is best implemented by algorithmic choice” rather than individuals with their own biases.
“The Twitter when I led it and the Twitter of today do not meet any of these principles,” he acknowledged. “This is my fault alone, as I completely gave up pushing for them when an activist entered our stock in 2020.”
Although Dorsey did not provide further specifics about the investor, some reports indicate that he was likely referring to Elliott Management, which bought a sizable stake in the company and pursued a bid to force Dorsey out of his position.
Instead of developing “tools for the people using Twitter to easily manage it for themselves,” he lamented that Twitter wielded “too much power” under his watch through techniques that allowed employees “to manage the public conversation.”
Sharing his belief that corporations in general “have become too powerful” in recent years, Dorsey cited the decision to suspend then-President Donald Trump’s account last year as a glaring example of the trend.
He appeared to take a more laissez-faire approach to content moderation than even the “free speech absolutist” who currently owns the company.
While Musk made headlines for restoring Trump’s account and several others that were suspended under Twitter’s previous management, he has also attracted criticism for his own seemingly heavy-handed moderation decisions.
Common denominator: both accounts of these suspended accounts recently made fun of Elon Musk pic.twitter.com/sv126LoppD
— Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp) December 1, 2022
In his statement, Dorsey recommended a “fresh reset” of the platform, sharing his opinion that it should not allow for “content takedowns and suspensions.”
As for the so-called “Twitter Files,” Dorsey has encouraged Musk to embrace a holistic approach to the release of internal documents.
“If the goal is transparency to build trust, why not just release everything without filter and let people judge for themselves?” he tweeted. “Including all discussions around current and future actions? Make everything public now.”