Twitter CEO dodges question about banning Trump if he called for murder

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

Drew Angerer/Techhnews

Twitter has faced numerous calls to boot President Donald Trump off the platform over allegations that he’s spreading hate speech or inciting violence, but the tech company has stopped short of barring the politician or pulling down his tweets.

Twitter has to weigh whether Trump’s tweets are newsworthy, and even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has stressed the importance of hearing from leaders directly. 

But what if Trump tweeted that his followers should murder a journalist? Would that be enough to get him barred? 

“That would be a violent threat. We’d definitely … You know we’re in constant communication with all governments around the world. So we’d certainly talk about it,” Dorsey said in a lengthy Q&A with The Huffington Post. 

When pressed again about the question, the tech mogul said, “I’m not going to talk about the particulars.”

Twitter, like other social networks, grapples with what posts to leave up or pull down for violating its rules about harassment, hate speech and violence. But these companies have also been accused of suppressing conservative speech.

Dorsey consulted with conservative political activist Ali Akbar when the tech firm was trying to decide whether to kick conspiracy theorist Alex Jones off the site in August, The Wall Street Journal reported. The tech mogul said in the Q&A with The Huffington Post that he reached out to a number of people but wouldn’t say who else.

“I was introduced to (Ali Akbar) by a friend, and you know, he’s got interesting points. I don’t obviously agree with most. But, I think the perspective is interesting,” he said.

Twitter, which has been criticized for being a hotbed of harassment and abuse, is also trying to make conversations on the platform more positive.

Dorsey said Twitter looks at a variety of factors to tell if a tweet is toxic, including whether someone mutes or blocks an account.

But figuring out what these signs are is apparently still a work in progress. 

“Like, temperature on your body — that indicates whether you’re sick or not, right? So if you were to apply the same concept to conversations, what are the indicators of a healthy conversation versus a toxic conversation?,” Dorsey said. “That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”

Twitter said it didn’t have any additional comments about Dorsey’s remarks. 

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