back to article Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says Trump ban means the service has failed

Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has posted a long thread in which he laments having to permanently suspend US president Donald Trump’s personal twitter account. “I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here,” he opened, before going on to argue that “this was the …

  1. Danny Boyd

    Dorsey is right!

    "The CEO went on to argue that when Twitter bans a user, they can just go elsewhere."

    How true! Telegram subscription went up significantly since Twitter's ban. Keep up a good job, Jack!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dorsey is right!

      Which is why Dorsey kept him until the last minute - Trump (despite his messages) have been the best thing to happen to Twitter and brand exposure. Now Trump's lost his power, he's shut-down by Twitter.

      The acme of Twitter's failure came when 5 people died.

    2. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: Telegram

      Telegram also saw an inflow of new users not happy about WhatsApp T&Cs change (although anecdotal, I personally know several such cases). To me, Telegram is more of a direct replacement of WhatsApp than of Twitter

    3. Martin Summers

      Re: Dorsey is right!

      I think Telegram and Signal are actually enjoying uptake due to the impending WhatsApp TOS change.

    4. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      Re: Dorsey is right!

      What about Parler that started gaining users and than was killed by concerted effort of the Big Tech?

  2. tip pc Silver badge

    Screwed the pooch and knows it

    I am not a Trump supporter or apologist.

    When Twitter where not scaring world leaders by banning and no platforming certain people, groups and movements it was seen as ok.

    Now they’ve banned POTUS and the other large social media outfits have done the same, other world leaders, Germany’s Markel as an example, have started to make noises and wonder if they could be banned too.

    perhaps if future protest movements want to sway future elections they could seek to ban political leaders or parties and change the social media narrative to their agenda.

    Cambridge analytics where derided for finding ways to advertise to specific target groups around elections, imagine what could happen if a popular political party was banned?

    What would a uk election look like if social media banned the Labour Party and its supporters?

    Social media have shot themselves in the foot by colluding to ban Trump, en mass the way they have.

    Twitter is now suggesting a decentralised platform where they can be exempt from central censorship as their platform would be decentralised and able to resist censorship requests from governments and regimes. Not sure how they’d make money on a decentralised platform.

    1. MrMerrymaker

      Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

      Trump incited violence.

      You seem to be merrily ignoring that massive issue. Like Twitter would randomly ban for any reason.

      People died due to Trump. You are ignoring that why?

      1. tip pc Silver badge

        Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

        I tend to ignore most things Trump, I’m not a great user of social media and I don’t run a social media empire.

        The point is by banning POTUS in all his forms they’ve set a precedent that others will hold Twitter to.

        Trump is bad and abused his office and used what everyone assumed to be an impartial social media to communicate to his followers who went on, I assume, to commit acts of violence resulting in people dying.

        Is it because he used Twitter to encourage others to commit violence that got him banned from the other platforms?

        Would he have been banned if he had done that using parler?

        Would he have been banned if he had not used social media but press conferences or word of mouth instead?

        Should past leaders now be banned for their roles in the deaths of hundreds of thousands around the world in conflicts like Iraq, Afghanistan etc?

        I’ve not read the posts by trump and not really interested in reading them, I now don’t have to as Twitter etc have decided censor POTUS from me and everyone else, Non of us get to judge him now because he’s already been judged by social media.

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: Non of us get to judge him now

          You don't think the past 4 years is long enough to make an informed judgement? Anyone who's waited until now to judge Trump has seriously missed the boat.

          1. tip pc Silver badge

            Re: Non of us get to judge him now

            “ Anyone who's waited until now to judge Trump has seriously missed the boat.”

            We all knew he was a wrongun when he was on his tv show.

            The fact that he won the presidential election in 2016, in my view, shows how terrible the choice of candidates where.

            Social media waited till now to judge him, if it was their role and purpose to pass judgement then they should have done that anytime since he started office. My judgement has a minuscule effect in the grand scheme.

            I only really get to pass my judgement on uk elected leaders at election time with my vote.

            I already pass my judgement on social media by not using it.

            The Twitter boss has now realised that by censoring his content creators in such a grand way, social media will now find it harder to resist interference by governments and others.

          2. Lon24 Silver badge

            Re: Non of us get to judge him now

            Trump was an elected leader and it was right that Twitter should not stand in the way of Trump communicating with his electorate - no matter how poisonous and untruthful his remarks. Slapping a disclaimer on them was a justified compromise.

            That didn't end on November 3rd. It ended when Trump having lost his democratic mandate sort to use Twitter and other media to, in most people's eyes, overthrow the democracy. A democracy that guarantees the freedoms that allows Twitter and other media to be a voice for anyone who is willing to accept their T&Cs.

            Would a Trump universe be more liberal in what speech and actions are permitted? I think not.

            It's a paradox that in order to protect free speech you are very occasionally forced to censor speech which will end it. And it's good that at that point Twitter et al are challenged hard and forced to defend themselves. That's our protection that no one (like Trump) can go too far exploiting free speech to kill it or corporations (like Twitter) to limit free speech for any other reason.

            1. chulak

              Re: Non of us get to judge him now

              "It's a paradox that in order to protect free speech you are very occasionally forced to censor speech which will end it." - You do not understand or appreciate free speech.

          3. quartzz

            Re: Non of us get to judge him now

            you don't want to upset someone who can blow up the world tho - via nukes, or followers (followers who have guns - not soc/med followers)

        2. genghis_uk

          Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

          What makes you think that Twitter (or any of the other social media sites) are impartial?

          There is no requirement for impartiality only that users stick by the T&Cs. They are all private companies and are perfectly within their rights if they refuse to host comments or even users.

          [as a bit of an aside as I am sure s230 will be mentions here at some point - a quote from Ron Wyden “There is not a single word — not a word, not a comma, not a parenthesis, nothing — that suggests that 230 was about neutrality. In fact, what we designed it to be is if you had a conservative website, good for you! Do what you want with it! If you had a progressive website, same thing.”]

          1. Zolko Silver badge
            Big Brother

            Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

            "They are all private companies and are perfectly within their rights if they refuse to host comments or even users."

            yes, that's always a funny one. Now, let's see:

            - if a restaurant (a private company) refuses to serve some people because they are ... (black, jew....), would you find that acceptable ?

            - If a baker refuses to make a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding, would you find that acceptable ?

            - If a company fires a worker because she wears a muslim headskarf, would you find that acceptable ?

            - If a company fires a worker because he has expressed some political views somewhere in town, would you find that acceptable ?

            Why not ? Icon, obviously.

            1. genghis_uk

              Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

              If someone comes round your house, insults your wife and makes lewd comments about your daughter, would you ask them to leave?

              Posts are not moderated because of someone's creed, colour or background - generally they are moderated for violating the T&Cs by being bigoted and obnoxious.

              You are not comparing like for like and, if anything, you are agreeing with me if you think about it

              1. Zolko Silver badge

                Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

                "Posts are not moderated because of someone's creed, colour or background - generally they are moderated for violating the T&Cs by being bigoted and obnoxious."

                In this case, it's not a particular post that has been areased, but the entire account of the current, democratically elected, president that has been canceled. But of course you know that:


                "So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause".

                1. Sitaram Chamarty

                  Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

                  @POTUS is still active. It's a *personal* account that has been deleted.

                2. genghis_uk

                  Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

                  A lot of accounts get deleted because their owners repeatedly break the T&Cs, the president is a repeat offender on his own, _personal_ acount that would have been banned long ago had he not been the president. He got away with posting lies and bigotry but they drew the line at promoting an insurrection.

                  I'm no Twitter apologist and they certainly could have handled this better but I can see the reasoning. What would stop Trump from tweeting a call to arms next week for the inauguration?

                  If liberty means giving the president a platform to deceive the people, act like a dictator and attempt to undermine democracy maybe you need to re-evaluate your idea of liberty.

                  1. Zolko Silver badge
                    Big Brother

                    Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

                    "If liberty means giving the president a platform to deceive the people, act like a dictator and attempt to undermine democracy maybe you need to re-evaluate your idea of liberty."

                    Iraq, Syria, Lybia, Ukraine ... "undermine democracy" ... the one who needs to re-evaluate his idea about "democracy" is you. I'm re-reading 1984 and the similitude to today is frightening : re-writing history by the Ministry of Truth is what that book is about ... and is what you're trying to do.

                    Icon, obviously.

                    1. genghis_uk

                      Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

                      Not seeing the relevance of other countries (BTW Iraq not so much - were you thinking Iran?). Whataboutism does not mean that Trump was not trying to undermine US democracy. The fact they are undemocratic does not give Trump carte blanche to discount 81M voters in the US.

                      1984 was the study book for my English Literature exam in, would you believe it 1984.

                      While Minitrue deals with re-writing history, the goal is to ensure the current version is aligned with the current party line. The overarching storyline is that the proletariat are indoctrinated to believe anything that Big Brother says in order to control them. When Winston and Julia rebel, they are forcefully reprogrammed to love Big Brother and accept everything the party says unconditionally. It is the power of the state to control every aspect of people's lives that is the real dystopia.

                      I hear 1984 bandied about by US Conservatives a lot at the moment but the irony appears to be lost on them that Trump has spent the last 4 years telling lies and indoctrinating his faithful to believe anything he says - even when he lies about his lies (contrast, we were always at war with Eurasia!). If you disagree, his faithful appear to be happy to violently reprogram dissenters. That is pretty much what the word witnessed last week. Totalitarianism can be achieved from the left or the right, you just need an authoritarian leader and enough people to join the cult.

                      May have drifted off topic a bit here...

        3. MrMerrymaker

          Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

          "The point is by banning POTUS in all his forms they’ve set a precedent that others will hold Twitter to."

          If that precedent is inciting violence that costs lives, then that's a good thing, not bad.

          Freedom of speech has limits. I don't think they should be OTT, but don't value speech more than human life.

        4. Blackjack Silver badge

          Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

          I am curious; what do you think he is getting impeached for, being orange?

          1. Yes Me Silver badge

            Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

            what do you think he is getting impeached for, being orange?

            I don't think that (or any other kind of fruit) is impeachable.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Cynic_999

        Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

        I do not like or endorse Trump, and say "Good riddance". However ISTM that many movements incite violence either explicitly or implicitly to at least the same extent as he did. Should social media ban people who call for BLM protests? Anti-China protests? LGBT marches? Any of which can and often have turned violent.

        The problem with censorship is that it starts by assuming that a particular point of view, method or agenda is "bad" while contrary opinions are "OK". Information and hence public opinion becomes something that is controlled by the people or organisation that have the power to censor. While I can agree to censorship taking place on certain platforms (such as those aimed at children), I cannot agree to any general censorship of material that adults access except on a temporary basis for a short time.

        If the Internet had been around at the time, should Twitter have banned Martin Luther King?

        1. Martin Silver badge

          Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

          Should social media ban people who call for BLM protests? Anti-China protests? LGBT marches?Any of which can and often have turned violent.

          The difference is that Trump actually advocated the violence and praised it when it was happening. And yes, anyone who advocates violence on BLM/LBGT/anything else protests should be banned.

          1. Cynic_999

            Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it


            The difference is that Trump actually advocated the violence and praised it when it was happening.


            Not in anything I have heard or read. It may be what some people *inferred* from his words, but he did not explicitly tell his supporters to commit illegal acts, and it is arguable whether he wanted to convey any such veiled message. I have heard far less veiled "calls to arms" from BLM supporters and those calling for the protests in Hong Kong.

            1. Martin Silver badge

              Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

              Did he advocate violence? - well, he merely told a raging mob to march on the Capitol to "Stop the Steal". It MIGHT be argued that he didn't advocate violence, but I wouldn't want to use it as a defence myself.

              Did he praise the violence? - on his video, he said right at the end "Go home - we love you." Doesn't sound exactly like a condemnation of the violence. And if you say you love the people who are carrying out the violence, it can only be interpreted as praise.

      3. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

        Trump did not insight the violence.

        He just called for a big demonstration outside Capitol, nothing wrong with that.

        1. Martin Silver badge

          Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

          1) incite, not insight. Sigh.

          2) Plenty wrong with it. A bunch of fired-up enthusiasts are asked by their glorious leader to march on the Capitol to "stop the steal". He may not have actually said "Go break into the Capitol" but that's what happened as a direct result.

          And why do you think he DIDN'T march on the Capitol with them? Because he knew there was likely to be trouble - much more fun to watch it on TV.

          And afterwards, he told them "Go home - we love you."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: by colluding to ban Trump, en mass

      They didn't collude. None of them wanted to make the first move, then trump asked his mob to attack Congress and it was just the reason the companies needed.

      Black people sleeping in their beds get killed by the pigs. You're moaning because private companies won't allow trump to incite another rebellion.

      Get some fucking perspective.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: by colluding to ban Trump, en mass

        He isn't banned because he asked the mob to attack congress. He got banned because the effect was disastrous and deadly.

        I'm not sure how your perspective works. How are your 2 examples linked - maybe you can provide further detail in your sweary way?

      2. Mongrel

        Re: by colluding to ban Trump, en mass

        See also, the Paradox of Tolerance.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

      here is the ACLU's position:

      (I sometimes agree with the ACLU, especially when it comes to individual rights and privacy)

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

      "Social media have shot themselves in the foot by colluding to ban Trump, en mass the way they have."

      A set of closely linked events, some illegal, raised public revulsion. Associated businesses made decisions on some any or all of various considerations arising from it: PR, risk of criminal liability and moral grounds. AFAICS it's reasonable to expect each to make similar decisions independently when presented with the same situation. If you think collusion is involved where none is needed you should provide evidence; without that you're in conspiracy theory territory.

    5. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

      Trump repeatedly violated the terms of use for Twitter.

      They didn't dare do anything until now because he's petty enough to personally make it his mission to ruin Twitter. They only banned him now because he can no longer do this to them.

    6. Nat C.

      Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

      "Twitter is now suggesting a decentralised platform where they can be exempt from central censorship"


      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it


        Nah. IRC.

    7. Sitaram Chamarty

      Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

      They have not banned POTUS, as in the @POTUS twitter account.

      They have banned Trump's personal account, which he has been using to further a far-right agenda while "serving" (and I use the word very loosely) as POTUS.

      There **is** a significant difference between these two accounts in terms of the debate that Merkel and co have started, and I am appalled that they are not seeing this difference.

    8. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

      In Australia, google is now responding to legislation that means they must pay for search results showing newspaper stories by not showing some results from some papers. This is unintentionally removing choice and perspective.

      Imagine turning on the tv to find that some channels are not shown in the TV guide anymore, you can tune directly to them but unless you can see them in the guide and the programs they carry most people will quickly forget about them.

      Social media has the same great power that news papers used to. They shape our perspectives. By intentionally or unintentionally reducing content they are editing our perspectives.

      If social media had banned trump in 2016 he’d have done something about it during his term in office, likely by regulating the hell out of them. Now he’s left it won’t be long before other governments decide to regulate the social media giants.

      Have a look at twitters blog with their concerns about internet shutdowns and the contrast with their policy on shutting down accounts on countries where elections are taking place

      I don’t think they are wrong, but I don’t think they are right.

      1. quartzz

        Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

        focussing on the comment about the government regulating soc/media

        you can guarantee, that the reasons and the outcome that governments want "regulation" to have, are not the same reasons/outcome users want it to be regulated

    9. John_G

      Re: Screwed the pooch and knows it

      Traditional news media has been controlled by a few ultra-rich individuals from the beginning. The impact of Facebook banning the Labour party would probably be far smaller than all the major Murdoch papers and Viscount Rothmere's Mail and Sunday Mail all publishing consistently anti-Labour and pro-Conservative messages; which is exactly what has happened repeatedly in the past.

      It shouldn't be a controversial opinion that America, and some other western democracies, are in a dangerous place. There's no evidence to even imply that the election wasn't free and fair, but the majority of republicans support the storming of the capitol by a mob, and members are threatening their own representatives for not lying.

      I share a concern about social media companies becoming gatekeepers to information, but we have to look at whether they are being used by state or private entities to manipulate public opinion and undermine the state. If social media companies not taking action would lead to an inevitable slide into fascism and the end of democratic elections (which may or may not be the case) then them acting would certainly be the lesser of two evils.

  3. LDS Silver badge

    "because of the model it demonstrates:"

    The perfect tools for monetizing internet crimes? Just like Twitter, it can be used to create havoc.

    1. Amentheist

      Re: "because of the model it demonstrates:"

      Or just after " foundational internet technology that is not controlled or influenced by any single individual or entity"

      As if the big BTC whales can't sway the value of BTC whenever they wish like any other financial system.

  4. Christopher Reeve's Horse

    No acknowledgement

    For enabling 4 years of utter insanity. They chose profit and promotion over responsibility and accountability, even by only the standards of their own T&C's.

    1. Richard IV

      Re: No acknowledgement

      Quite. They wouldn't be in this position if they hadn't decided to carve out that magical world leaders' anything goes zone because of and for the Insurrectionist in Chief. Their failure is in the belated realisation that some things don't go and, what's more, affect the bottom line.

      It's not that the heuristic of what goes is particularly hard. Just as things you wouldn't be worried about your granny seeing form the basis of "safe for work", things you wouldn't criticise as despotism when practiced by (say) Iranian officials feels like a reasonable one for world leader behaviour.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. You aint sin me, roit

    Promote healthy conversation?

    Who defines "healthy"? A "normal" person might say that advocating violence is not healthy, but if you believe that "libtards stole the election " then all bets are off.

    And how do you "promote" one thing without demoting another? "Stop right there with your cancel culture!".

    Twitter, and all social media, have to admit there are some who have no interest in healthy conversation. Or indeed conversation at all. The challenge is how to deal with them. It's unfortunate that nobody thought through the consequences of unrestrained social media before letting the genii out of the bottle.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Promote healthy conversation?

      "It's unfortunate that nobody thought through the consequences of unrestrained social media before letting the genii out of the bottle."

      Sure we thought about it. We even built it. It's called "Usenet"; you may have heard of it. It was (and is!) a grand experiment ... but it's not exactly what I would call "family friendly" ... and by it's very nature, it cannot be made family friendly. But as an adult toy, used by and for adults, it is perfectly adequate for what it does do well.

      As a result of the reality of the Usenet experience, some of us old-guard warned the newbie point&drool WWW set what would happen when they re-invented the wheel, but with an advertising-driven capitalist bent. Would they listen? Hell no. Follow the money, they said. And did. With absolutely zero thought of anything remotely resembling social ramifications.

      And here we are. Lovely, ain't it?

      Methinks the clouds they are walking on are wearing thin ...

      1. genghis_uk

        Re: Promote healthy conversation?

        Couldn't agree more - Usenet was designed for the early internet i.e. mostly academics plus those working with academia. Very non family friendly (<pretty much anything> was only the tip of the iceberg) but it was also very non-mainstream.

        The problem came with faster internet access for the masses, Windows making computers more user accessible and the great unwashed being let loose in the geeks playground. Anyone with half a brain could see that creating a tool to let anonymous idiots spout anything that came into their heads was going to cause problems

      2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Promote healthy conversation?

        The WWW was never designed with an "advertising-driven capitalist bent". The early WWW was very similar to usenet in places, discoverability was a major issue and advertising just wasn't there. It was very much an extension of the trusted arena that the rest of the early Internet was, no consideration towards security or anything much but that's just how things were.

        I was also very glad to see it making Gopher obsolete... [shudders]

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Promote healthy conversation?

          I never said that about the Web. I said that about how the Web was used.

          Gopher isn't all that bad. My 105 years young Great Aunt is not quite done publishing her life story in Gopher. When I started teaching her, it seemed like the easiest option for what she was trying to do. That was about 28 years ago, when Auntie was a sprightly 77ish. I run the server. I'd have moved her over to the Web years ago, but she's resistant to change and quite happy with gopher. I almost hope she never finishes it ... I kind of suspect that the project is one of the things that keeps the old girl going.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Promote healthy conversation?

      That's a good point - societal norms and the law define healthy. If one stands on a street corner and incites a mob against the law, that's different to woke cancel culture which is a result of individuals not liking things they don't want to. So there can be clear definitions of healthy...

      "It's unfortunate that nobody thought through the consequences of unrestrained social media before letting the genii out of the bottle."

      I personally never thought it would bring out the traits in society that it had...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Promote healthy conversation?

        The woke cancel culture is pretty well the same thing, inciting a crowd to howl down a street-corner speaker they don't like, even if the speaker has simply failed to catch up with the latest twists of snowflake vocabulary.

        Let's put the blame on the common thread: group-think.

  7. gerdesj Silver badge


    He didn't once mention how important my security is to him. He has mentioned #Bitcoin and thank God he's taking that seriously, that's the important stuff right there. “this was the right decision for Twitter” - that's nice.

    Proper job. lol etc.

  8. lglethal Silver badge

    I'm not a twitter user

    So maybe someone can come up with an example, but I fail to see any use case for twitter users being anonymous. Make users have to put their real name on every tweet and you will almost immediately improve the social conversation on twitter.

    There are other forums that anonymity is relevant on, places where whistle blowers can reveal misdeeds, etc. But twitter is just a place for loud mouth people to tell the world what they had for breakfast, or for trolls to have fun.

    Remove the anonymity and that healthy social conversation that Jack wants, will be right there. But of course, that will also hurt his user base as all the trolls, bots, and Russian server farms will disappear over night...

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: I'm not a twitter user

      The irony of course is that Parler users weren't anonymous, and was deplatformed because AWS didn't feel that the social conversations there were healthy.

      I'm not sure your solution will work.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I'm not a twitter user

        We know nothing about their take on social conversations. All we know about is their reaction to conversations which were anti-social to the point of incitement to violence. At that point the criminal law becomes a consideration.

    2. Ben Tasker

      Re: I'm not a twitter user

      > I'm not a twitter user

      If you were, you'd know that anonymity isn't really the problem here.

      A good chunk of the abuse sent comes from people with real names on their account. Hell, in meatspace, most of the people who stormed the Capital on Wednesday didn't bother covering their faces.

      The problem is that problematic users feel able to speak without fear of consequences.

      The only thing you might gain by removing anonymity is making it a little harder for people to sneak a new account under the radar following a ban. Even that's not absolute though.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I'm not a twitter user

        "The problem is that problematic users feel able to speak without fear of consequences."

        Perhaps this detachment from reality is what lead them to the physical action - no fear of consequences. In the real world, of course, there are consequences.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm not a twitter user

      "twitter is just a place for loud mouth people to tell the world what they had for breakfast"

      My pet rabbit (Lord Anon) once had a twitter conversation with (the real) Lord Sugar, about the vegetarian diet he was making fun of (a plate of carrots).

    4. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: I'm not a twitter user

      Anonymity needed if someone is e.g.

      gay and people unaware or would get grief due to their religion, country they live in etc.

      fleeing an abusive relationship, real name potentially helps abuser track them

      employer could id a social media user, not like what they post & engineer reasons to sack them (especially in jurisdictions where firing juts on employer say so is relatively easy for employers & awkward and legally costly for sacked folk to do anything about it), similarly potential employer could use social media content to filter workforce to their desired mindset

      etc, etc. (there's an almost inexhaustible supply of good reasons for anonymity)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: I'm not a twitter user

        Yes, there are thousands of good reasons to be able to post (and read!) anonymously. But you can't convince me that there are similarly that many good reasons to use twitter.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Too late

    All this worthy hand-wringing is several years too late.

    Dorsey (and Fuckerberg) presided over the development of social media into a phenomenon that is destroying people's mental health and eroding the nature of society. And they did it deliberately by developing content-promoting algorithms designed to cause controversy and division, because that made them the most money.

    If their graves become occupied during my lifetime, I will dance on them.

    1. Zolko Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Too late

      "Dorsey (and Fuckerberg) presided over the development of social media"

      I disagree: it were the lawmakers who allowed them to get away with everything that led to this Orwellian scenario. The "social media" are in a lawless limbo, where they get the privilege of journalism to free speach, the privilege of Internet providers for not being responsible for the content, and the privilege of private companies to refuse the service to whoever they don't like. And it were also the lawmakers who refuse to apply existing anto-trust laws to split up these giants (and before that, by accepting their mega-mergers in the first place).

      This is what Mussulini has called fascism: when private coorporations take over the government. And he should know these sort of things. Welcome in 1984 !

    2. jgard

      Re: Too late

      I'd say it's more than several years late. This polarisation and division started well before social media, though that has been a very effective conduit for its propagation. It started with traditional press and broadcasters. Once they started to become private enterprises - when the state controlled media ecosystems around the world were no longer controlled by the political systems in their own country, things changed. Money became boss of news, media, press - everything in the way of information on current events was driven by the need to make cash. Clever business men (who often have a right of centre perpective on politics) realised this provided unprecedented opportunities.

      They found they could influence hundreds of millions of people across continents by providing consumers with news that is slightly skewed toward their (the business owners) political views. This works particularly well with a right-wing take on the news as it tells the consumer what they want to hear: foreigners stole your job, welfare is too easy etc., It's well known that older people are by far the biggest consumers of news. What do they like to hear even more than the average person? That things aren't as good as they were in the old days!

      Soon, the owners learned the best strategy to retain and expand your consumer base was to sell confirmation bias delivered by a 'charismatic' messenger. This worked perfectly for the moghuls, because not only was that the fastest way to make money and expand, it was also allowing them to beam or deliver their take on the news into people's homes. It wa the classic WIN WIN!

      Of course, the way to keep expanding is to turn your strategy up a notch. This might be making your position move to the right, or maybe putting the other side down. This easily then morphs into semi-extreme views on some channels / papers and outright demonisation of the left. As a press or media moghul you can't lose, because people love to get angry at others, they love news that confirms their comfortable old-world prejudiuces. Over the years these same people moved from consuming regional news (local radio and TV, regional papers), which is nearly always politically neutral, to devouring partisan, politically driven news and current affairs from multi-national empires.

      For a hilarious but incisive takedown of this cynical approach, I highly recommend this clip from 2006. John Stewart is invited on one of these partisan, let's fight and demonise each other type of political shows and proceeds to rip the hosts apart for their cynical tactics. The best bit is that that the accumulation of pond scum and faecal matter known as Tucker Carlson is on the receiving end and is utterly outclassed and embarrassed, he looked like a child in a room full of adults. So good a criticism was it, that Stewarts appearance resulted in the show being cancelled for good. It is brilliant:

      People like Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, Viscount Rothmere and a hundred other right-wing media moghuls are directly responsible for the vast majority of hate, division and mistrust in western society. These people are egregious, they're motivated by power, money and influence, and give not a toss for society or humanity for that reason. They have wrecked our societies in just a few decades by selling their conservative and increasingly extreme messages to billions of people. And people have hoovered it up, because to be biased toward one's own kind and country is a natural tendency. If enough people are exposed to it for long enough that dramatically changes a society, but not in a positive way.

      The world we see now follows directly from this bunch of amoral manipulators and exploiters; they have sold us this divise, nasty, adverserial view of the world and our societies have brainlessly hoovered it up.

      Our current political divisions across the western world are not due to social media, although those tools have certainly helped us go even further down the rabbit hole. They are the symptoms that result from the cynical manipulation of societies, by the media, over the last 40 years. Zuckerburg and Dorsey are not responsible for what's going on, at most they have won big from their predeseors and are now just keeping the seats warm while they become rich as kings.

      There would be no Trump without the odious Roger Ailes and Fox, there would be no Brexit without Murdoch, Rothmere, Desmond and their hideous rags like the Daily Mail. This is no exageration. Humdreds of millions have suffrerd because of these disaterous political events and both were only made possible by the selfish and divisive manipulation of our societies by these toads. An old posh twat like Viscount Rothmere doesn't want to be in the EU, so he does what he knows best - frightens, builds hate, generates prejudice and divisiont, and sadly it works.

      The best illustration of this cynical, selfish and destructive politicising was something that Ruper Murdoch himself once said. He was asked why he hates the EU, his answer was: "When I go to Downing Street they listen and do what I tell them. When I go to Brussels, the EU tells me to fuck off."

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation"

    Sorry, you made the platform available and did nothing to prevent people from mouthing off in any way they wanted.

    Besides, your whole post is useless because the only way to promote a healthy conversation is put a stop to the unhealthy ones, and that would make you a moderator and that would make you responsible for what was posted - and that is the last thing you want.

    So go ahead and cry your crocodile tears, I'm not impressed by them.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: "a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation"

      Indeed, I recall celebrations of the role social media played in the Arab Spring. I recall years of hatred and cancel culture towards people who dare to challenge the accepted narrative. I recall months of support on Twitter by politicians and media commentators for the political violence that burned so many US cities last year.

      Dorsey wants me to forget all of this and support his vision for a bright new future? No.

      1. John Savard

        Re: "a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation"

        Why shouldn't we celebrate the overthrow of dictators in the Middle East, or the struggle against police violence against black Americans?

        That the nation continued to focus on the lives lost in police shootings, instead of allowing itself to be distracted by the unfortunate actions of a small minority was a good thing.

        And if the election had really been stolen from Trump, it would also be a good thing if we didn't let the violence of January 6th distract us from righting this wrong... but, of course, it hadn't been.

    2. genghis_uk

      Re: "a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation"

      Upfront - this is not a defence of Twitter, just a reality check.

      They could have moderated all of the insanity if they wanted to and it would not have made them responsible for anything. The do not have an obligation to host anything.

      However, moderation at the Twitter sort of scale is very close to impossible without a lot of false positives also being caught in the dragnet and a lot of offending posts being missed. Also, moderation of all of the insanity in Twitter would result in a lot of users leaving (or banned) which would hurt the bottom line. This is part practicality and part greed.

      Good luck picking the good from the bad with these sort of stats - Software can't do it without making a mess as it has no sense of nuance, irony or context:

      "Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter, which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year"

      1. quartzz

        Re: "a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation"

        during the past 18 months, twitters alexa rank has gone from about 12, to about 40

        daily users from about 4 million to 2 million

        whatever twitter is doing, it isn't really working.

        (whether the user number landslide is because people have lost the phone number they use to get access to their account and "appeals" doesn't reply, I don't know)

        personally...I think all social media has become one big algorithm database experiment. the big names know they have enough users they can lose a few with a few wrong algorithms

      2. GioCiampa

        Re: "a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation"

        "Good luck picking the good from the bad with these sort of stats"

        They sure picked up on the account that basically repeated every Trump tweet pretty quickly ... less than a week before it got shut down?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation"

        While true in the "they can't reliably moderate everything" sense, totally wrong in this particular scenario. The account that is likely to be the #1 best known account worldwide is known for repeatedly sending known-false messages and conspiracy theories for the past several years, and they couldn't be bothered to do anything about it until now?

        1. genghis_uk

          Re: "a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation"

          That would be the 'part greed' bit of the equation ;)

  11. Martin Summers

    Anyone who thinks Trump has 'lost his voice' and really wants to hear it, could always visit his website (if he has one, I don't care or want to check). Y'know, those things that we used to use to tell people stuff about ourselves if we so wished.

    Twitter isn't the be all and end all, neither is the Facebook walled garden. If his 88 million followers are bothered, then I'm sure they'll find him. I'm guessing most of them followed for the entertainment value.

  12. Blackjack Silver badge

    Twitter failing since 2006

    Twitter is the most useless (and dangerous) social media.

    So it failed when it started and it just keep getting worse.

  13. JWLong

    That said, having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications. While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation. And a time for us to reflect on our operations and the environment around us.

    — jack (@jack) January

    Hey Jack,

    Do the world a favor and turn your servers off.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Do the world a favor and turn your servers off."

      After all, the world has demonstrated that it isn't ready for those healthy conversations.

  14. quartzz

    ah...what's going on here. mho on something which has lots of angles...

    soc/media is un policeable....

    why was the most powerful man in the world making announcements on twitter anyway (because it's unfiltered thoughts)

    is this proof that the big names combined, "are definitely" more powerful than governments. which we sort of knew......

    twitter (and fb) was loving it. priceless publicity, priceless attention

    if your average user gets banned, they get annoyed

    if the guy with his hand on the nuclear button (or a crazed republican following) gets banned, it's 3...2...1...

  15. John Savard


    I can definitely imagine a decentralized tool that nobody can control that makes it possible to spread lies and hatred faster than they can be refuted. A decentralized tool nobody is controlling that helps promote civilized conversation?

    It's obvious that now is the time to invest in Twitter. Their stock will shoot up after they figure out how to turn lead into gold.

  16. Keith Oborn


    The problem here is not Trump specifically, it is the correct understanding of what "free speech" means in respect of systems like Twitter and FB.

    ANY user who incites violence or other criminal acts should be immediately banned by all. There needs to be an independent regulatory body to enforce this, just as there are such bodies that apply (at least in reasonably civilised societies) to "traditional" media.

    Free speech is the freedom for the individual to say what he likes. It does not mean he has the right to have others disseminate what he says.

    There are laws of libel and slander to control defamation.

    To ensure that this is enforceable, the regulators must require that all such systems take a (possibly nominal) payment via credit card. This ensures legal traceability and age checks.

    The social media mob will kick up a storm, but they are the ones who sowed the wind. They should reap the whirlwind.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is he though? Is he really?

    1. cmdrklarg

      Re: Banned?

      Those accounts are probably not directly accessed by Trump, but by minions who can filter what gets spewed.

  18. tekHedd

    Ordinary Decent People are Sick And Tired

    Regarding the "Analysis: social media companies should be doing more to censor content." tag at the end...

    The problem of moderation is a tricky one.

    Experience suggests that if we demand solutions without simultaneously offering specific suggestions, they'll fix things in the most ass way possible. Keep this in mind when whining that "something must be done."

  19. Mike Friedman

    Oh Jack. You really are a douchebag. You could've stopped this years ago, but you chose not to. Because you're greedy. Donald Trump was violating your TOS before he became President, but he drove traffic to you so you didn't care.

    So spare me your crocodile tears, whining and pearl clutching. It's disgusting.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “Social” media was a bad idea

    Humans can’t deal with it, never mind Trump. I won’t miss all the news stories that just regurgitated one of that cretin’s moronic sneering tweets. The world would be better without all this “social” media crap.

  21. Alex King

    Ban the nazis

    All this hand wringing. He just needs to stfu and ban the Nazis.

  22. Big_Boomer


    I for one am glad that he got banned and I don't really give rats ass about the reason. We have now had a whole week of not having his Peachnesses latest pronouncement on Twatter re-broadcast to the world by every single news media on the planet. As a consequence it's been a relatively pleasant week. Long may it continue.

    One of antisocial media's biggest faults is that it bloats egos. I recently accidentally stumbled into a Conservative Party Farcebook group and the level of fawning and hero worship was nauseating. Anyone who worships another human being in my opinion needs psychological help. However, after seeing it I suddenly realised why people on antisocial media can get an artificially inflated ego, to the point that they believe that they are perfect and are doing a great job, when quite often the exact opposite is true. When everyone you hear from is telling you that you are a God, then eventually even the most cynical of us will start to believe it.

    As for Twatter and most of the other antisocial media, I don't participate because I really don't care what most other people think, do, or are. I have enough on my plate with friends, family, work, and a few forums I participate on. Yes, I am on Farcebook but only because it's an easy way to stay in touch with friends and family that are spread out across the planet. I frequently wield the Unfollow button when I get sick of someone's drivel, but only occasionally use the Unfriend button for those who go too far.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Twatter

      "When everyone you hear from is telling you that you are a God, then eventually even the most cynical of us will start to believe it.

      Except those of us who grok critical thinking. And people who remember Tony Webster and David Harris-Jones (Great! and Super!) from Rossiter's Reginald Perrin.

      The fawners need their collective heads examining.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Twatter

      "Anyone who worships anything in my opinion needs psychological help."


  23. Jonjonz

    This dip shit's original decision to allow some people but not others to break the rules is what got us here in the first place.

    That and the abortion called 230 which unlike every other publishing medium, lets social media platforms publish all forms of libel, fraud, calls for violence, hate, insurrection, calls for lynch parties, organizing terrorist attacks with no liability.

    Things will continue to get worse until 230 is abolished.

    1. genghis_uk

      We need a Godwin's law for Section 230.

      All that stuff you don't like about 230? 99.999% of it is the first amendment.

      Without social media anyone could create a website and put up:

      "all forms of libel, fraud, calls for violence, hate, insurrection, calls for lynch parties, organizing terrorist attacks with no liability" and it would all be protected speech

      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but repealing s230 will have no impact other than to increase the amount of objectionable speech as social media sites are very likely to stop all moderation so they are not liable.

      One side wants to get rid of it because they feel they should be able to post their bigotry anywhere and the other wants to get rid of it because there is not enough moderation. Neither appear to understand what s230 does and don't seem to want to

  24. Grinning Bandicoot

    The Dogs of Law have been loosed

    Without reading other comments I find the the presentation dissembling considering all the past statements made about neutrality and the mass of communications that must be considered. Register's headline sums the situation in that Trump is no longer a revenue builder and the new regime is doing all that it can to shut the guy up which weakens the net's argument that it is a merely a carrier. Let loose the Dogs of Law after this.

    As an after thought which shall be considered the Cavaliars [sic] and which the Roundheads both claim God is on their side and the task is a Holy one.

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