Twitter’s Jack Dorsey admits the company has a major content problem

20 Aug 2018

Twitter on a mobile device. Image: XanderSt/Shutterstock

Jack Dorsey says that Twitter staff cannot serve as ‘arbiters of truth’.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has been doing a lot of media appearances of late to explain decisions of the company that have been heavily scrutinised.

Controversy around Twitter’s management of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, in particular, has put the firm’s content policies in the spotlight.

A misinformation problem

The CEO recently spoke to CNN and argued that Twitter had not “figured this [online misinformation] out”. According to Dorsey, the company does not have sufficient resources to actively hunt for unsuitable or harmful content. He said to manage this, staff would need to comb through “hours and hours and hours” worth of video content. He added that he wanted the company to be consistent in its enforcement of rules.

Dorsey also threw out claims from US president Donald Trump that the company was biased against Conservative views and opinions. While he acknowledged the company is “more left-leaning”, he also said that was the reason why he was so conscious of avoiding anything that could be perceived as bias on the platform. “We need to remove all bias from how we act,” he said.

He also noted that there needs to be a change in how people actually use Twitter in order for things to turn around. “We are aware of some of the silos and how we’re isolating people by only giving them crude tools to follow accounts. We need to broaden our thinking and get more back to an interest-based network.”

Dorsey says Twitter is taking action

When criticised for the company’s lack of action, he argued that it is taking more action than ever before. However, much of this is invisible to the average Twitter user. One action Dorsey cited was the mass removal of automated accounts.

He had also mulled changes to the ‘like’ button and follower count displays but was reluctant to discuss a specific timeline for the roll-out of these alterations. He said this reluctance stems from Twitter’s relatively small size coupled with its “outsized impact”.

The difficulties facing Twitter are undoubtedly immense, and many people are struggling with its low levels of transparency, as well as its reluctance to ban dangerous users.

Twitter on a mobile device. Image: XanderSt/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects