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Bulletins

Why Twitter banned Trump

It's clear from Dorsey's tweets that he loathed having to take the action.

Jack Dorsey
Photo: Amal KS/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Jack Dorsey, after a notably long silence on his platform's ban of @realdonaldtrump, took to Twitter on Wednesday night to try and explain himself. (Maybe he's finally home from his vacation in French Polynesia.)


"I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here," Dorsey wrote. "After a clear warning we'd take this action, we made a decision with the best information we had based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter." Over a series of tweets, he tried to explain, but the answer seemed to boil down to the fact that the possibility of real-world harm seemed large and imminent, and Twitter felt it had to act.

It's clear from Dorsey's tweets that he loathed having to take the action, even if he believed it to be the right one. "Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation," he said. "They divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption, and learning. And sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation." This, by the way, is a power and a precedent a lot of people feel is dangerous. Dorsey has proven to be one of the internet's — one of society's — most powerful people, and he doesn't seem to relish that responsibility.

More problematic for Dorsey is the fact that cloud providers like AWS also took actions on objectionable content last week. Dorsey said that the fact that users could always leave Twitter for another service was core to its ability to moderate as it saw fit; with fewer places to go, Dorsey seemed to say, Twitter's role might feel different.

Lastly, Dorsey used the opportunity to cast a broader vision for Twitter, the same one he's been talking about for a while now: Twitter as a protocol, not a platform. The project is called BlueSky, and it's already in progress at Twitter. It attempts to discover what it might look like if the internet had a conversational layer, and apps could plug into it however they wanted? Twitter would turn into something more like an email client: one way to view the underlying content, but not the only way, and certainly not the controller of the ecosystem.

That idea, he said, is part of why he's so fascinated by Bitcoin, "because of the model it demonstrates: a foundational internet technology that is not controlled or influenced by any single individual or entity. This is what the internet wants to be, and over time, more of it will be."

In short, it seems Dorsey feels Twitter made the right decision, wishes it didn't have to, and wants to build a world where it doesn't have to again. Or at the very least, one where Twitter can run the platform it wants to run without worrying about whether one CEO should be able to shut up the president.

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Image: Tesla/Protocol

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The massive valuation definitely screams tech, as does the company's investment in self-driving software and battery development. But at the end of the day, this might not be enough to convince skeptics that Tesla is anything other than a car company that uses tech. It also raises questions about the role that timeliness plays in calling something tech. In a potential future where EVs are the norm and many run on Tesla's own software — which is well within the realm of possibility — will Tesla lose its claim to a tech pedigree?

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Becca Evans
Becca Evans is a copy editor and producer at Protocol. Previously she edited Carrie Ann Conversations, a wellness and lifestyle publication founded by Carrie Ann Inaba. She's also written for STYLECASTER. Becca lives in Los Angeles.

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Apple and at least two other Silicon Valley companies have decided to delay their reopenings in response to rising COVID-19 case counts.

Photo: Luis Alvarez via Getty

Apple grabbed headlines this week when it told employees it would delay its office reopening until October or later. But the iPhone maker wasn't alone: At least two other Silicon Valley companies decided to delay their reopenings last week in response to rising COVID-19 case counts.

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Half of working parents have felt discriminated against during COVID

A new survey found that working parents at the VP level are more likely to say they've faced discrimination at work than their lower-level counterparts.

A new survey looks at discrimination faced by working parents during the pandemic.

Photo: d3sign/Getty Images

The toll COVID-19 has taken on working parents — particularly working moms — is, by now, well-documented. The impact for parents in low-wage jobs has been particularly devastating.

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Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.

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Alphabet goes deep into industrial robotic software with Intrinsic

If it succeeds, the gambit could help support Google Cloud's lofty ambitions in the manufacturing sector.

Alphabet is aiming to make advanced robotic technology affordable to customers.

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Joe Williams

Joe Williams is a senior reporter at Protocol covering enterprise software, including industry giants like Salesforce, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle. He previously covered emerging technology for Business Insider. Joe can be reached at JWilliams@Protocol.com. To share information confidentially, he can also be contacted on a non-work device via Signal (+1-309-265-6120) or JPW53189@protonmail.com.

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