Twitter founder defends service’s rules, saying it polices conduct, not content

Founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, defended the service in Sydney yesterday, saying it was getting better at managing bullying, trolls and misinformation, but it was a fight that would probably never be complete.

Speaking at an American Chamber of Commerce meeting, Dorsey said the company has emerged from the trough that saw it caught under “the microscope of negativity”.

Dorsey (right) with host David Koch

“We got lost in the day-to-day of Twitter failing and it’s never coming back,” Dorsey recalled. “We got caught under the microscope of negativity.”

Part of the negativity had been around the misuse of the platform, leading to a tightening of rules last December and a crackdown on accounts in February that led to cries of censorship from US-based right wing groups, despite being welcomed by most local industry figures.

When asked about Twitter’s struggle in controlling poor behaviour on the platform, Dorsey stated his belief in not censoring posts: “Our role is not policing content, it’s around conduct.”

“If we see harassing behaviour, if we see abusive behaviour, if we see misinformation, if we see spam-like behaviour, if we see manipulation – either by bots or people – we need to take action.

“Our role is to make sure there is fair conduct and to take action accordingly. We’re not always going to get it right.

“We’re getting better at it, we’re getting more transparent about why we take actions or don’t take actions.”

Dorsey was upbeat about Twitter being a platform for marketers, saying: “We built a really great business. It’s a business of connections, it’s a business of pairing amazing services and brands with events people find relevant.”

When asked by the event’s compere, broadcaster David Koch, about what might disrupt the service, Dorsey said he hoped it would be Twitter disrupting itself, observing that was the culture of the company.

“I want to constantly question what we hold sacred and see that we are constantly raising the bar on what we think is possible,” he said.

“All products, services and brands have to have direction and have enough openness to figure out what they want to be.”


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