- Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is reportedly taking abuse and spam on the platform more seriously.
- Insiders saying he has more of a say in banning accounts, according to Fast Company.
- Those insiders worry that Twitter could tilt over into censorship if Dorsey doesn’t establish policy, rather than intervening for individual accounts.
- Twitter recently purged extremist right-wing accounts from its platform, including that of former EDL leader Tommy Robinson.
Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey is reportedly getting more personally involved with blocking controversial accounts on the platform, a departure from an earlier, long-held ethos that the company is the “free-speech wing of the free-speech party.”
According to Fast Company, citing Twitter insiders and former employees, Dorsey had a say in booting conspiracy theorist and lobbyist Roger Stone from the platform.
He would ask Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Del Harvey, to take action when abuse directly affected celebrities or other high-profile users, the report said.
It isn’t clear that Dorsey issued instructions barring specific users. Rather, according to one source, he would flag a problem account and ask the safety team to do something.
According to the Fast Company source: "Jack was making those [kinds of] calls. They were very smart about it - you're not going to find a paper trail. He was very good about providing certain items to [the] safety [team] and asking for action. He would tell somebody [on the team], You should check out this account - you should do something about it."
It's not exactly direct interference, and the sources said that it comes from Dorsey's prioritization of safety on Twitter. After years of being swamped by racism, sexism, spam, and abuse, the company is trying to take serious steps to tackle these issues.
But other employees worry that Twitter could tilt over into censorship, according to the report.
"The moment you're catering to the request of a CEO - whether by making exceptions in enforcement or by taking action outside of [what] the policy [calls for] - everything goes downhill," a source is cited as saying.
They also worry that Dorsey might interfere with account blocking before implementing a policy to justify the decision.
Twitter didn't respond to the allegations, pointing Fast Company to Dorsey's recent tweets about tackling abuse.
The allegations will help fuel right-wing perceptions that Twitter has it in for them.
The company is purging extremist right-wing accounts, revoking verification for neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, former EDL leader Tommy Robinson, and anti-Muslim group Britain First from its platform.