Twitter Chief said Trump ban sets ‘dangerous’ precedent

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Twitter Chief Jack Dorsey on Wednesday backed the messaging platform’s ban of United States (US) President Donald Trump, but said it sets a “dangerous” precedent and represents a failure to promote healthy conversation on social networks.

“Having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications,” Dorsey said in a string of tweets about his take on the company’s decision late last week to permanently bar the president.

“While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation,” Dorsey said, inviting feedback from users.

Trump’s access to social media platforms that he used as a megaphone during his presidency has been largely cut off since a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington last week.

In addition to Twitter, bans have also been put in place by Facebook, Instagram, Twitch and Snapchat, while YouTube temporarily suspended his channel.

However Twitter was the Republican billionaire’s go-to tool, which he used to directly communicate on a daily basis with some 88 million followers, posting everything from proclamations to accusations and spreading misinformation via the platform.

Social media operators said the embittered leader could have used his accounts to foment more unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Twitter’s decision to permanently suspend Trump is considered overdue by critics who argue he has gotten away with abuses, but has worried free-speech advocates and drawn criticism from various NGOs and leaders.

A monitor shows US President Donald Trump speaking in a video posted on the White House Twitter feed, in the empty Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. PHOTO: AFP