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Twitter clampdown will go beyond Trump ban, Jack Dorsey tells staff

Michael Cogley
·3 min read
Twitter chief Jack Dorsey said the company's move against violent accounts would go "beyond the inauguration" - Hannah McKay/Shutterstock
Twitter chief Jack Dorsey said the company's move against violent accounts would go "beyond the inauguration" - Hannah McKay/Shutterstock

Twitter’s clampdown on extremist accounts will be “much bigger” than simply banning US President Donald Trump, the company’s chief executive has said.

The social media giant made the decision to remove Mr Trump from the platform last week following the storming of the US Capitol building by rioters.

At the time Twitter said it had decided to suspend the account due to the risk of “further incitement of violence”.

The decision quickly drew criticism. Angela Merkel, German chancellor said the ban was a “problematic” breach of the “fundamental right to free speech”.

However, Jack Dorsey has doubled down on his decision. The company’s chief executive, said its campaign against extremist accounts would go on “beyond the inauguration” of Joe Biden, which will take place on Wednesday.

"We are focused on one account right now. But this is going to be much bigger than just one account and it's going to go on for much longer than just this day, this week.

"And the next few weeks and go on beyond the inauguration. We have to expect that, we have to be ready for that."

On Tuesday, Twitter suspended more than 70,000 accounts linked to the far-right movement. QAnon is a conspiracy theory that believes Mr Trump is leading a war against a host of Satan-worshipping paedophiles in politics as well as business and the media.

Mr Dorsey went on to say the US was “extremely divided” and that it was showing every day on the site.

“Our role is to protect the integrity of that conversation and do what we can to make sure that no one is being harmed based off that,” he said.

The comments were first aired by Project Veritas, a right-wing group that aims to root out media bias. The group posted a video of the Twitter CEO, which is claimed came from an “insider”.

In a statement a Twitter spokesman said: "The remarks shown in the video were delivered to our more than 5,400 employees and are nearly the same words Jack shared in a recent tweet thread offering context around and reflections on our work to protect the conversation in recent weeks."

In the thread Mr Dorsey said that he did not “celebrate or feel pride” in the suspension of Mr Trump’s ban.

He said that it was the “right decision” for Twitter and that “offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real”.

Twitter’s conflict with the president over his posts has been rumbling for some time with the social media site moving to begin labelling his tweets last year.

The company ran a warning label alongside his tweet in May during the Black Lives Matter protests that said: “'when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.

Twitter also continued to post labels on Mr Trump’s tweets when he began to allege voter fraud without any evidence to back it up following his loss in the US election to President-elect Joe Biden.

In the interim, Mr Trump pushed for Section 230, a law that protected companies from being held liable for what users post on their platforms, to be repealed.

Other tech giants followed Twitter in suspending Mr Trump from their sites. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have all suspended his accounts over fears more violence could be incited following the riots at the Capitol building.