Jack Dorsey: 'Twitter stands for freedom of expression'

Jack dorsey twitter flight 2Matt WeinbergerTwitter CEO Jack Dorsey on stage at Twitter Flight 2015.

Newly-instated CEO Jack Dorsey laid out Twitter’s commitment to open dialogue, in a keynote on stage at today’s Twitter Flight developer conference in San Francisco.

“Twitter stands for freedom of expression,” Dorsey declared. “Twitter stands for speaking truth to power.”

Dorsey called out social movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #ILookLikeAnEngineer, which got their starts on Twitter, but continue to inform the conversation around important topics like racism, sexism, and police violence on the national level.

Stuff like this takes Twitter beyond what he describes as a “simple messaging service,” which is what it is at a basic level. It’s what people do with Twitter that makes it special, Dorsey says.

That’s why Dorsey is calling it out at a developer conference. Under Dorsey’s leadership, Twitter is trying to reach out to the developers that it infuriated long ago and win back their trust.

That’s important, Dorsey says, because the apps that people build with Twitter only enhance the social network’s ability to create conversations.

But this also highlights one of Twitter’s biggest challenges: Dick Costolo, Dorsey’s predecessor in the CEO role, identified online harassment as a major impediment to Twitter’s growth, because it can make the general user experience intensely unpleasant.

So Twitter is walking on a razor’s edge: Even as Dorsey praises Twitter for helping to organise positive social movements, there are plenty of people using it for more nefarious means. The real challenge hasn’t changed: Balancing free speech with keeping Twitter hate-free.

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