Twitter CEO responds after employee targeted for fact-checking Trump
When Twitter took the audacious step of debunking 'potentially misleading' tweets by President Donald Trump, a wave of criticism ensued, targeting one single man - Yoel Roth, the Head of Site Integrity at Twitter. Now, in light of the whole situation, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has spoken up, defending Roth and pledging to "continue to point out incorrect or disputed information." Here's more.
On Tuesday, Twitter flagged Trump's misleading tweets about mail-in voting. He said that mail-in ballots, which California is trying to expand, will be nothing short of "substantially fraudulent" and lead to "a rigged election." In no time, the site stepped in, attached a fact-check warning that redirected readers to a page describing the President's claims as "unsubstantiated" and detailing the facts about mail-in voting
After Twitter's action, Trump attacked the site for "stifling free speech" and interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election, scheduled for November. He also vowed to "strongly regulate or close down" social media platforms trying to silence conservative voices. Meanwhile, The Verge reports that the President does not have the authority to shut down private companies for exercising their constitutional rights.
Big Tech is doing everything in their very considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 Election. If that happens, we no longer have our freedom. I will never let it happen! They tried hard in 2016, and lost. Now they are going absolutely CRAZY. Stay Tuned!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2020
As Trump led the charge against Twitter on Twitter, his administration targeted Yoel Roth, Twitter's Head of Site Integrity, for flagging the tweets. Trump's advisor Kellyanne Conway dug up Roth's tweets that were critical of Trump and directed his supporters to go after the 'horrible' person. Soon, the tweets started circulating online and Roth was targeted with online abuse, harassment, and even death threats.
When Roth became the target of Trump's supporters around the world, Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, stepped in and defended him through a series of tweets justifying the company's action. "There is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that's me," Dorsey said while urging everyone to "please leave our employees out of this."
Dorsey added Twitter will continue to flag disputed/incorrect information on elections, globally. "We will admit to and own any mistakes we make," he said while clarifying that "our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency...is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions."
As for the flagged tweets of the President, Dorsey said the posts "may mislead people into thinking they don't need to register to get a ballot (only registered voters receive ballots)," among other things Twitter has already fact-checked. Notably, the site has also clarified that Roth was not responsible for the fact-checking and there will be no action against him for those old tweets.
This does not make us an “arbiter of truth.” Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions.— jack (@jack) May 28, 2020